EDITORIAL: A last chance for City Market

October 30, 2010

We like the changes afoot at City Market. But if the latest attempt to reposition it doesn’t work, the city should consider mothballing the beloved old building until its surroundings become a benefit rather than a liability.

As IBJ reported last week, the market is building momentum that city officials hope will lead to its becoming financially sound. Key to the effort is broadening the market’s appeal so it isn’t just a lunch destination for downtown workers.

Toward that end, six tenants are moving in next month. The new arrivals include a fresh produce shop, a florist, and purveyors of juice, crepes and soup. The Chef’s Academy will open a research-and-development kitchen there. A lot of hope is pinned on the new Tomlinson Tap Room, a bar on the second floor that will serve craft beers on tap from around the state.

We hope the new tenants’ chances of succeeding will be bolstered by a $2.7 million renovation that is slow to start but by next spring should result in a brighter, more appealing market. Besides cosmetic changes, the market will get new rest rooms, a new bicycle hub (to be built inside the east wing) and more green space outdoors when the west wing is demolished.

The bar and bike hub haven’t been tried before and just might draw a new crowd to the market, but we wonder if cosmetic changes and a new tenant mix will be enough to help the market turn the corner.

It’s likely the market’s long-term future depends on what happens to the vacant Market Square Arena site across the street. If hundreds of apartments and a retail hub emerge at the site, which has been vacant for 10 years, it might be just what the market needs to thrive. Identifying a use for the MSA site that positions the market to succeed should be a priority for the city.

Public transportation and, to a lesser extent, the redevelopment of old City Hall at Alabama and Ohio streets, could also influence the market’s long-term prospects.

We hope the newest City Market plan is an unqualified success. If it isn’t, city leaders must bide their time until conditions are ripe for a full-fledged overhaul.

Voting is your duty

It’s always amazing to hear from political pundits that large groups of voters are expected to “sit this one out” as an important election approaches.

We assume—we hope correctly—that most IBJ readers aren’t prone to such inaction. With our state and nation facing vexing issues too numerous to mention, the very idea that anyone who is registered to vote would fail to do so is inconceivable.

Those who drop out of the process because they are discouraged by their party’s chances only make matters worse by not voting. Others don’t take the time to vote because they’re confident their favorite candidate or party will win handily. They shouldn’t be so sure.

This election doesn’t have the sex appeal of 2008, but the stakes are still high. Please make voting a priority Nov. 2.•


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