This Saturday, May 5th Fulton Street Farmers Market will open for business under a new roof following a short ribbon-cutting ceremony at 7:45 a.m. The opening marks the success of a portion of the capital campaign “Our Goodness is Growing.”
Guests at the ribbon-cutting ceremony will include Grand Rapids Mayor George Heartwell and City Commissioner Rosalynn Bliss, Rockford Construction Project Manager Tim Marcus, Architect Ted Lott, Midtown Neighborhood Association Board President Mark Stoddard, Market Manager Melissa Harrington, FSFM Development Project Manager Christine Helms-Maletic, market vendors Case Visser and John Platte, and Campaign Chairperson Diane Griffin.
The Our Goodness is Growing campaign, which began its community phase on July 13, 2011, has successfully raised over 90% of the funds needed for the significant renovations and upgrades to the Farmers Market. These funds allowed the Midtown Neighborhood Association, which manages the city owned property, to replace the storm-water retention system, rebuild a 75-year-old retaining wall, regrade the site for wheelchair accessibility and remove 4,500 cubic yards of contaminated soil, all as a first phase of the improvement project. During Phase II, MNA added an all-new, open-air shed area for vendor stalls with multiple plumbing and electrical fixtures; re-configured the traffic flow of the parking areas with a turn-around area at the north end; and built a new plaza area with separate space for seating, bike storage and hot food vending to hungry customers.
Fundraising for a planned Phase III continues in order to raise the money needed to construct a year round building to allow the public to enjoy locally grown, wholesome foods throughout the winter.
“While the entire community of donors has been extremely generous, we still need to raise $225,000 in order for us to be able to afford the construction of the year-round building and additional north-end restrooms,” says the Market’s Development Project Manager, Christine Helms-Maletic. The giving opportunity to sponsor a brick or a paver for the Fulton Street Farmers Market has re-opened for a second round of orders to be installed mid-summer. Order forms are available at the Market office, and contributions can be made on-line at www.ourgoodnessisgrowing.org.
“This project is so exciting because not only does it have a significant visual impact on the neighborhood, it will ensure that the Fulton Street Market continues to contribute to community health and to support economic development for decades to come,” says Diane Griffin of Griffin Properties and chair of the farmers market’s Our Goodness is Growing campaign.
In 2010, the Market served nearly 200,000 visitors annually, averaging 10,000 customers per week and generating over $1.75 million in annual revenues for its collection of local vendors. The Market is an important venue linking urban and suburban residents, it occupies vital frontage on a key gateway into downtown Grand Rapids, and provides an essential source of quality foods for low income homeowners in the region.