David K. O’Neil, an internationally known expert in the development of public markets and their local economies, has been selected as the consultant to review operations at the West Side Market (WSM).
A contract with O’Neil, who specializes in operations of public markets, was finalized on Feb. 4, 2021. The consultant is currently collaborating with the City of Cleveland.
In addition to previous work with West Side Market leaders, O’Neil has been a consultant for more than 200 historic and new market projects around the world in locations near and far most recently including: Detroit, Charleston, S.C., Boston, Melbourne, Australia, Moscow and Florianopolis, Brazil. Food Access Raises Everyone (FARE), a local group, will assist O’Neil and serve as the equity partner that will engage area stakeholders throughout the process.
“I have a long relationship with the West Side Market going back to the 1980s. This has been a tough year for all markets, but Cleveland has the beginnings of some wonderful plans to help get through the difficulties and come out stronger and better for the future,” said O’Neil. “When we brought the International Public Market Conference to Cleveland in 2012, the Market was really the showcase of the event and market staff from all over the world were impressed with it.”
Here is some of the work underway or scheduled for the near future:
· A $70,000 vendor booth prototype, which was begun in September 2020, will be unveiled next week. This prototype specifically addresses many of the issues vendors shared with the City of Cleveland over the years including electrical upgrades. Once the City gathers vendor feedback, it will seek to make improvements and roll out new vendor booths throughout the WSM. Approximately, $2.6 million has been allocated for this project.
· The $214,865 arcade door replacement contract is in place and work is scheduled to begin in February 2021.
· Bids are posted to conduct $197,000 in electrical upgrades and the $240,000 construction of a new meat preparation room for the market tenants.
· Work on the meat prep room in the WSM basement, totaling more than $240,000, is also expected to begin later this year.
· The Mayor’s Office of Capital Projects is also preparing a bid for clock tower repairs totaling $1.8 million.
In 2021, the City of Cleveland will invest more than $5 million in the West Side Market. The City of Cleveland remains committed to the continuous improvement of the WSM for both customers and vendors in an ever-evolving economy and during this global pandemic.
In early April 2020, at the height of the coronavirus pandemic, the City of Cleveland deferred the April, May and June rental payments for West Side Market tenants. In an effort to help further mitigate our tenants, financial hardship during the COVID-19 pandemic the City forgave the tenant rental payment for April, May and June. Further, the innovation and flexibility by the tenants to offer phone/online orders with curbside pickup provided an added convenience to our customers. Throughout the pandemic, the City of Cleveland has taken on the $25,000/month expense of added security to ensure safe shopping while maintaining social distancing, mask wearing and capacity requirements in the WSM.
More updates on the progress at the WSM will be posted in our daily media updates, social media and the City blog.