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Park Board Gives Marketplace A Home Vendors May Sell Wares During A Monthlong Trial In May

Spokane’s MarketPlace has a new home - at least for the month of May.

The Park Board voted 6-1 to give the market a chance to peddle its wares in Riverfront Park along the north span of the Howard Street Bridge and the north bank of the river.

“We feel great about the decision,” said Tom Culbertson, the market’s board president. “We have the opportunity to show we can operate the MarketPlace as a positive attraction to patrons of the park.”

Organizers must come back to the board at the end of May to renew the month-long lease, and possibly adjust the agreement.

Right now, Culbertson said, there are lots of unknowns, such as the number of parking spaces and size of crowds.

While the Park Board has concerns about the plan, Culbertson said he feels “certain we’ll show them we can do it in a way that works out the problems. We’re willing to refine and adjust.”

The search for a new home began last July when the MarketPlace was told it had to leave its Riverside and Division location of the past four years.

The Spokane Joint Center for Higher Education decided it wouldn’t extend the market’s $10-a-year lease. The site, part of the center’s state-owned higher education complex, must be used to generate more income, state auditors have said.

Originally, the MarketPlace proposed paying the city $50 a day for rent. The new proposal approved by the Park Board requires the market to pay rent equal to 15 percent of the rent it collects from its vendors.

The MarketPlace charges vendors $20 a day per booth. The number of vendors varies during the season from 30 to 75.

Fruits, vegetables, jewelry and breads will be sold from portable tents and canopies on the park’s north side. Vendors must stay on the east half of the bridge, with the west side reserved for bicycles and pedestrian traffic.

The market will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday and Saturday, and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday.


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