Lansing City Market Plans – Update

26 04 2008

Just one day after posting on the City Market, the Lansing State-Journal provides insight into the plans.

While City Market and its supporters continue to work on marketing and outreach, some say the ever-struggling market doesn’t have a real shot until (developer Pat) Gillespie buys the property from the city for up to $1.6 million.

Lansing would use that money to construct a new City Market facility closer to the Grand River. The new market proposed would be at least 9,000 square feet and include indoor and outdoor space, Gillespie said. The current site is 16,000 square feet, he has estimated, and includes east and west wings.

Like I said in my last post, I was really disappointed in what the Market offered.  I’m all for farmer’s markets and home grown food, but I didn’t like the layout or the selection.  The place seemed empty. 

What is Lansing City Market Hiding?

25 04 2008

I came across this great article in the Lansing City Pulse by Neal McNamara.  He describes an ongoing battle between the publication and Lansing Entertainment and Public Facilities Authority. Apparently, there are plans floating around for a new city market.  The Friends of the Market think that it’s too early to release plans saying they are “conceptual.”

From what I got in an e-mail (the Friends of the City Market) say they don’t feel comfortable sharing” the plans, says (LEPFA Director Eric ) Hart.

“I’m not comfortable doing that,” said Dave Finet, a member of the Friends when asked if he could provide the plans to City Pulse. “My problem is that (the plans) are real preliminary.”

Plans have been sought from other main Friends Kris Zawisza and Diane Thompson, the group’s chairwoman, both of whom met more than a week ago with this reporter to show off their new position statement about the development of the market. (One of their gripes with the new plans is that the community hasn’t been involved.) Zawisza rebuts Hart’s “uncomfortable” claim. She says it’s not her place to hand out the plans, emphasizing that they’re premature. Thompson says she doesn’t have the newest plans.

That’s crap.  If either one of those organizations take any public money at all to operatre, they have no right to exclude the public from ANY information.  It doesn’t matter if the plans are “conceptual.”  The public has a right to have input on how their money is spent.  Release the plans and let the public decide if they like what’s going on or if they have any suggestions.  When the public sector tries to do business like they are a private business, it usually ends up at a loss to the taxpayers. 

I once watched a public school district purchase $300,000 in houses they were going to tear down for a new school. As soon as the public found out what they were doing (after the houses were purchased), there was an uprising against the site and utlimately, the plans were scrapped.  However, the district had already spent the money on the houses and now had 11 properties they couldn’t sell.

Too often, people in charge of public enterprises forget who they serve.  They forget that they are not their own bosses and can’t spend money however they want.  I don’t know the total make-up of either of these two groups, but I know there is SOME public money involved at least on the LEPFA side of things.  That’s reason enough to make these plans available immediately and go from there.

I’ve been to the Lansing City Market once and was extremely disappointed.  We were so excited when we found the website before we moved here.  We had planned to make it a once a week stop for produce, etc.  Our first weekend here, we went down to the market and it was like someone stole all of our toys on Christmas morning.  It was sad.  Fortunately, we found Horrock’s the next day