While nearby housing surges, Dallas Farmers Market drifts

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by BRAD WATSON

WFAA

Posted on August 18, 2011 at 7:52 PM

Updated Friday, Nov 1 at 6:10 AM

DALLAS - Visitors at the Dallas Farmers Market bring their appetites.

And in the blocks around the market, developers show a growing appetite for new townhomes. Theresa O'Donnell, director of Dallas' Sustainable Development and Construction office, believes in the area's potential.

"The Farmers Market area will be our first true neighborhood," O'Donnell said.

The city council approved new townhomes on a lot across from the market. A developer will spend $33 million building 108 units, selling at about $300,000 each. The city is putting in $3 million in street and pedestrian improvements.

But while there is progress around the Dallas Farmers Market, it continues to struggle.

The city still runs the market, but admits it doesn't hold the expertise to market the market to attract more visitors.

Vendors, like Benny Rubio, agree.

"There are a lot of people who don't even know this place is still here," Rubio said. "And I think we need advertisement. If we can get some advertisement, let the people know where we at, we're still here and it's a seven-day program, I think we'll have more business."

The city envisions a private manager to schedule six festivals a year. But when the city asked for proposals, it only got one. That proposal was rejected.

So the search goes on.

Dallas City Council member Angela Hunt wants a private manager to "create a terrific environment, where people want to go to the Farmers Market."

"It's the environment, it's how it looks, it's how it feels, it's how you deal with private vendors," Hunt said.

The city said it needs to come up with a privatization deal as tantalizing as the produce.
 

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