17th St. Farmers’ Market redevelopment project inches forward

Posted at 6:23 PM, Oct 02, 2013
and last updated 2013-10-02 18:23:02-04

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) –The city another step closer to kicking off a redevelopment project at the 17th Street Farmers’ Market in Shockoe Bottom.

The $3 million project aims to transform the farmers' market into a major destination with shops, restaurants and public markets

"We want to activate the space with people, activity, fill it day and night," said Jeannie Welliver, the project development manager for Richmond's Department of Economic Development. "We're eliminating the architecture that exists in the space to allow it to be many other things."

Mayor Dwight Jones and his administration hired an outside consultant firm to work with business leaders and the community to create a more vibrant downtown, despite previous attempts at projects that were designed to do the same thing.

"We do believe that an open urban space is what the community and the stakeholders would like to see," said Welliver.

But CBS 6 News wanted to know if the plan would work considering numerous complaints from the public over parking.

Welliver said the state has a 1400 space parking garage that could be utilized on nights and weekends. Plus, there are 550 spaces around Main Street Station as well as other parking decks.

CBS 6 News' Sandra Jones also asked Welliver is revitalizing the heart of Richmond's Shockoe Bottom will help decrease crime in the area.

"It's heavy on entertainment in the evening, but if you start to change that and bring families into the space and the place, you'll see family for businesses follow behind it," said Welliver.

The plan also calls for more bicycle access and buses into Richmond's Shockoe Bottom.

Officials said plans for a possible new baseball stadium would not be impacted by the farmers' market redevelopment project.