(GRAND RAPIDS, Michigan) – The Fulton Street Farmers Market (FSFM), located in the southeast corner of the Midtown Neighborhood, is the last remaining of three original Grand Rapids farmers markets established in the early 1900s. Originally constructed in 1922, the market has retained its regional popularity over the years. Drawing more than 10,000 patrons per week during the peak of the season, the market generates millions of dollars worth of revenue for local growers each season.
With the recent influx in “buy local” initiatives, the Fulton Street Farmers Market is seeing resurgence in both the number of participating growers and in customers. As such, the market is literally busting out at its seams. In 2011 a $2.6 million dollar “Our Goodness is Growing Campaign” was announced by the Midtown Neighborhood Association, to generate funds to provide much-needed infrastructure improvements to the space, including:
- Permanently covered, open-air sheds with increased water and electricity access points
- Reconstructed plaza with added space for seating, bicycle storage and vendor overflow
- A small LEED-certified building with indoor stalls for year round vending
- Traffic flow reconfiguration
- New parking area pavement, landscaping and striping
- Two sets of wheelchair-accessible restrooms
- Complete site re-grading to meet Americans with Disabilities Act standards
- Upgraded heating / cooling systems, insulation and wiring
- Rebuilding of the east side retaining wall
- Storm water retention system reconstruction
“When complete, the renovated Market will offer a better overall experience, more capable of serving local neighbors, area shoppers and our regional farming vendors,” says Diane Griffin, Campaign chair. “Most importantly, the facility upgrades will provide a space where people can continue to enjoy the finest in locally-grown food, flowers and other goods.”
To date, nearly $2,100,000 of the project funds have been raised, leaving just $500,000 to go. Thanks to the strong fundraising efforts and a dedicated group of community leaders and volunteers, organizers broke ground on the underground infrastructure and permanently covered shed housing the outdoor vending stalls in November 2011 and will celebrate the grand re-opening of the open-air Market in May, 2012. But to complete the project, with a 2000-square foot, indoor, year-round building and wheelchair-accessible restrooms at both ends of the Market , the balance of the funds must be raised.
An upcoming fundraising event to benefit the Fulton Street Farmers Market “Our Goodness is Growing” campaign is:
- Wednesday, April 25, 2012 (5-9pm)
An Evening in the Piazza
Tre Cugini’s La Scala Banquet Room – 125 Ottawa, Downtown Grand Rapids (Ledyard Building)
Mingle with other FSFM fans and friends in an open-house atmosphere. Groove to the music of Western Michigan’s most loved jazz group, the Fred Knapp Trio. Enjoy a delicious meal prepared by Tre Cugini’s culinary team – using locally-grown ingredients. Participate in thesilent auction for goods and services donated by local businesses, including an original Paul Collins painting. A cash/credit card barwill be available.
Tickets are $75 each and may be purchased by cash or check at:
o BarterTown Diner (6 Jefferson Street, 616.233.3219)
o Grand Central Market ( 57 Monroe Center Street, NW,616.454.5300)
o Tre Cugini (122 Monroe Center Street, NW,616.235.9339 – ask for Jim)
o Bluedoor Antiques (946 East Fulton Street, 616.456.7888)
A credit card may be used to purchase tickets by accessing the Eventbrite web site via:
o Eventbrite.com OR
Owned by the City of Grand Rapids and managed by the 501(c)3 Midtown Neighborhood Association, improvements to the Market fall under the auspices of the Parks & Recreation Master Plan. All charitable gifts to the campaign are tax deductible to the full extent of state and federal law.