GRAND RAPIDS—It's been the main farmer's market in Grand Rapids for 88 years and now there's a $3 million plan to renovate the Fulton Street Farmer's Market.
Tuesday, the Midtown Neighborhood Association is showing off plans including a covered area to shop and a place for year-round vendors.
"We wanted to be very careful with the design that we preserve the experience," said Project Manager Christine Helms-Maletic. "There will always be the opportunity to meet the person who grew your vegetables."
But they can't fix everything. The area has limited parking and have to work within the space they have to fit in the 120 vendor stalls.
"We are not able to add parking," said Helms-Maletic. "We know that people understand that about our market, it's a challenge, we are going to look at creative ways to make the parking a little easier."
They're considering a shuttle system and adding a turn-around in the lot.
Pat Rakowski can't wait for the changes. He's hoping to sell his natural farm products indoors.
"That way we could just set up coolers and just lock the door at night," said Rakowski. "Don't have to pack everything up and go home."
But what about the timing? This market looks to compete head to head with the Grand Rapids Urban Market near downtown---slated to open in 2012.
But organizers say the two would complement each other. In fact, a member of the group behind that market spoke at the announcement.
"We are bursting at the seams as it is," said Helms-Maletic. "I think we have customer loyalty, we have vendor loyalty and I think that many people, like myself, will shop at both markets."
They're hoping to start the renovations in the fall of 2011 and open in the spring of 2012.
A fund raising campaign will probably kick off next year.