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New market coming to town

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Posted: Monday, February 28, 2011 9:00 pm

Spokane will soon be home to its own public market where consumers can buy goods directly from local farmers, artists and craftspeople.

The market will be located at Browne Street and Second Avenue in downtown Spokane. It features an indoor and outdoor design to serve Spokane's diverse weather conditions and is slated to begin construction in May.

The venue will feature an array of produce, fruit, flowers, honey, meat, seafood, dairy, baked goods, music, crafts and art similar to that of the famed Seattle Public Market. It will serve shoppers Wednesday through Saturday year round. While downtown is notorious for metered parking, the market will feature free parking with purchase.

Interim Executive Director John Hancock said he believes the Spokane Public Market will bring many benefits to the city.

"In the past 20 years, more and more people have been seeking out healthy, local food," Hancock said. "Economic development downtown is also a big topic right now. This project will help revitalize that corner of downtown, and it's convenient for people who live and work [nearby]."

Talks of the market have been in the works since 2007, but the idea isn't a new one. In the early 1990s there was an organization like the public market called the Spokane Marketplace, Hancock said. The marketplace moved around to a variety of locations but never found the ideal site, and by 2002 it dissolved.

"It wasn't enough to just have an organization or an idea, we had to have the ideal building at hand," Hancock said.

That ideal building is the 21,000-square-foot historic warehouse, formerly the location of Roses n' More. The building was originally constructed for a similar purpose, so Hancock thinks it will work well to house the market.

"There are big windows and doors that will be open when the weather is good," Hancock said. "And we are working on fixing up the outdoors so we can put vendors there, too." The outdoor area of the venue will feature the ever-popular taco trucks, as well as weekend rock concerts.

"I want people to drive by in the summer and see all the [activity] at the market," Hancock said. "We hope it will be a highlight you can't miss when you visit Spokane."

In addition to the seasonal entertainment, the market will also feature cooking demonstrations, a petting zoo, musicians and jugglers.

"The overall blend of things to do will be 75 percent food, and 25 percent other," Hancock said. "There's a wonderful, colorful, noisy hubbub about [Seattle's] Pike Place Market, and we want it to be like that."

One hundred vendors from around Washington state and its bordering counties will be selected for spots at the market and 40 to 60 vendors will be sharing their goods with the public each day.

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