Eastern Market Community Advisory Committee (EMCAC) Chair Donna Scheeder and EMCAC member Monte Edwards testified on April in front of the DC Council before the Committee on Facilities and Procurement chaired by At-Large Councilmember Robert White (D). The two requested more money be set aside for the Eastern Market in the 2020 budget. “We are pleased. Even though we did not get everything,” said Scheeder.
Scheeder credits Councilmember Charles Allen (D-Ward 6) with adding $250,000 additionally to the market’s budget including $675,000 for the replacement of the HVAC system. However, she noted, there were “other unfunded items particularly the brownstones falling off the building.”
Burgers and Beer and Debris
New EMCAC member and ANC Commissioner Gerry Sroufe (6B-02) held a community meeting with Eat BRGZ, a prospective tenant for a retail space on the corner of Seventh and C Streets SE. The new establishment seats 25 indoors and 60 outside. It plans no outdoor table service. Nearby residents were concerned about debris, noise, rodents and alcohol being served till 2 a.m.
ANC 6B is negotiating a cooperative agreement as a condition of its support for any liquor license.
Market Revenue Jumps
Eastern Market revenue jumped from $51,576 in February to $90,288 in March. Eastern Market Manager Barry Margeson attributed the increase to warmer weather which attracts increased numbers of farmers and craft vendors. Margeson took over the management of the 300 block of Seventh Street SE on April 6. Margeson said that every one of the vendors has been contacted regarding the change.
The city plans to place 16 tents on the block to ensure the signage of brick and mortar businesses are not obscured by vendor tents. Lower Seventh continues to be closed to traffic on weekends for vending.
All weekend vendors on the 300 block of Seventh Street are parking at the 700 Pennsylvania SE development. This should theoretically free more parking spaces for customers in the neighborhood.
The city has yet to reach an agreement with Colonial Parking, which owns the surface lot proximate to the corner of Seventh and C Street SE. According to Margeson, two of the South Hall merchants have expressed disinterest in validated customer parking. Signs advertising validation are up in most stands, he stated. The validated plan offers a $4 discount on space in the underground lot at 700 Penn on weekends.
Ten Years After the Fire
It has been a decade since the renovation of the Market, destroyed by a tragic fire in 2007 and re-opened in 2009. Many neighbors deserve credit for helping ensure the Market’s rebirth. Self-described “gadfly,” Gary Peterson of the Capitol Hill Restoration Society (CHRS) was the point man for the distribution of relief provided by The Capitol Hill Community Foundation (CHCF) to assist businesses and employees displaced by the fire.
CHCF President Nicki Cymrot led this fundraising effort. According to Peterson, more than $400,000 was collected, all in a matter of a few weeks. Their work was aided by the unstinting efforts of former Ward 6 Councilmember Tommy Wells (D), who convinced Mayor Adrian Fenty (D) to rebuild the historic structure, which ultimately cost more than 22.5 million.
And, finally the Hill Rag’s Executive Editor Melissa Ashabranner, who threw the full force of this newspaper into coverage of the Market’s phoenix-like rise from the ashes by commissioning this monthly Eastern Market Report.
Margeson announced that the dates for the 10th anniversary celebration of the Market’s reopening. “Rediscover the Market” will be held from June 7 thru 9. Details are forthcoming. Edwards issued a call for docents to give Market tours during the three-day celebration. Those interested should contact [email protected].
For more information about EMCAC or Eastern Market, visit www.easternmarket-dc.org.