Patrick-Murray Administration Announces Public Market Development Plan
BOSTON - Saturday, June 25, 2011 - The Patrick-Murray Administration today released an implementation plan for a public market in Boston, providing a blueprint for moving the project from concept to completion. The plan offers a comprehensive guide to help state and city officials work with Massachusetts farmers and food producers to design, build, and manage a successful year-round public market in downtown Boston.
"This plan gives us a clear set of recommendations to help build a thriving public market in the heart of Boston," said Governor Deval Patrick. "I look forward to seeing the best of Massachusetts agriculture on display at this market."
Among its many recommendations, the report suggests strategies for market management, selecting a market operator, financing, staffing, and vendor selection. The report concludes that the market will be "a wonderful addition to the city and a wise use of public and private funds."
"I want to commend Governor Patrick and his Administration for this detailed road map that will lead to the creation of a Boston Public Market. Working together, we will create a "hub" for the best local foods our state and region have to offer. It will be a great compliment to our growing array of food initiatives which promote healthy eating options as well as stronger economic partnerships between Boston and our farming and fishing neighbors, said Mayor Thomas M. Menino.
Included in the report is an extensive market analysis concluding the location will support a market that will generate an estimated $15.5 million to $19.5 million in annual sales. According to the report, the market will create dozens of construction jobs in the near future, and up to 200 permanent jobs when it opens.
The plan recommends the creation of a seven- to nine-member oversight committee and the selection of a nonprofit market operator. It also recommends the market, which features 14,000 square feet of rentable space, include space for 20 to 30 permanent retail stalls, plus 40 to 60 interior and exterior retail day stalls for agricultural and specialty food vendors - for a total of nearly 100 individual vendors during peak season. The plan includes the recommendation that participating vendors be locally owned and operated and identifies product ingredients sourced to Massachusetts.
The year-round market will be an opportunity to showcase the best of Massachusetts agriculture. Featuring fresh produce, dairy, meats, seafood, specialty foods and beverages, flowers and more, the market will be a destination for quality, local products. Additionally, it will offer extensive year-round community programming, educational events, and entertainment.
"Each year the Massachusetts agricultural industry generates $500 million in Massachusetts and this market will provide another chance for these businesses to reach customers here, saving and creating agricultural jobs, while bringing healthy food to thousands of customers year-round," said Department of Agricultural Resources (DAR) Commissioner Scott Soares.
According to the report, the estimated cost of implementing the public market is approximately $8.5 million. While the market is still in the early phases of development, the Department of Agricultural Resources is targeting an opening as soon as 2012. DAR envisions the funding sources to be a mix of state, federal and private dollars.
The report also recommends that public market operators coordinate with the existing Haymarket, the open air market held every Friday and Saturday near the proposed public market site. A rich part of Boston's history and tradition, Haymarket and the new public market are envisioned to complement one another to generate stronger sales for both are operating complementary to one another.
Centrally located, the market site is on the first floor of 136 Blackstone Street, adjacent the Haymarket MBTA subway and bus stop which provides Green and Orange Line service, as well as access to 16 bus lines. Also known as Parcel 7, the site is owned by the Department of Transportation (MassDOT), which made the site available for the market.
In December 2010, DAR selected Project for Public Spaces to research, develop and produce an implementation plan for the management of a new public market in Boston. DAR directed Project for Public Spaces to make recommendations about the vendor and product make-up of the market, oversight and management structure, and a decision-making process for the design, construction and operation of the market.
Several major U.S. cities operate public markets, including Philadelphia, Seattle and Milwaukee.
To follow the ongoing progress of the public market, visit www.mass.gov/publicmarket or search the Twitter hashtag is #MassPublicMkt.
DAR's mission is to ensure the long-term viability of local agriculture in Massachusetts. Through its four divisions -- Agricultural Development, Animal Health, Crop and Pest Services, and Technical Assistance -- the DAR strives to support, regulate and enhance the Commonwealth's agricultural community, working to promote economically and environmentally sound food safety and animal health measures, and fulfill agriculture's role in energy conservation and production. For more information, visit DAR's website at mass.gov/agr, and/or follow at twitter.com/mdarcommish.