Monday, 29 October 2012

Montgomery Curb Market's redesign to add seating, signage

When John Grier would set up his stand at the Montgomery Curb Market 39 years ago, eager customers helped him unload his truck so they could get the pick of the freshest produce.

Grier, a member of the curb market?s board of directors, said during the ?boom? days, produce would be gone within minutes.

But today, the market doesn?t have the amount of patrons it used to, he said.

In an effort to beautify the market and attract new customers, the city of Montgomery, which owns the curb market building on Madison Avenue, is planning to redesign the front entrance, improve signage and add seating for patrons.

?One of the challenges is a lot of people know where the curb market is, but a lot of new folks or guests into town may not know exactly where it is,? said Chad Emerson, the city?s director of development. ?And so hopefully this new frontage will make a clear entrance while preserving everything about the curb market that everybody has historically appreciated.?

The curb market moved to its current location in 1947, and is one of the oldest farmers markets in the state, Grier said. There have been some renovations over the years, but there?s still a lot that needs to be done, he added.

The city has hired Montgomery-based Pfeffer Torode Architecture to start designing the project. The plan is to add a covered pavilion-like structure across the entire front of the building for vendors to display and sell their goods, Emerson said.

The city also will add a seating area on the north side of the entrance.

?When you buy the goods and products at the curb market, you can sit down and enjoy them right there,? Emerson said.

The budget for the project is between $40,000 and $50,000, Emerson said. The goal is to have the construction completed by next spring.

The project is part of the Madison Avenue Gateway Plan, a vision created for improving Madison Avenue from North Ripley to Vonora streets.

Once the plans are done, the city will work with the curb market to determine the best way to proceed with construction, he said.

?Historically, it?s been a great place to go, but it?s never had a great curb appeal,? Emerson said. ?It?s an institution for people that come and get fresh vegetables.?

Reeda McElwaney, who has a stand at the curb market, said city officials got feedback from members about what they?d like to see the entrance look like.

McElwaney said she?s grateful that the city is going to design a plan that will preserve the historic character of the market, but still make it attractive to younger people.

?People have forgotten about the market,? said Diann Causey, who has had a stand at the market with her husband since 1983. ?If it looks more presentable and there are better signs, then people might remember it.?

Causey said the idea of the front porch, New Orleans-style frontage will improve the ambiance of the market.

?The younger generation that does not come down here as much will come more if it looks a little bit brighter, a little bit cleaner, a little bit more modern,? Causey said.

View the original article here

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