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Eastern Market

Eastern Market is a regional favorite spot to go, and it’s getting another boost with this most recent announcement of a grant of $250,000 to position the district for the future.

Back in 2008, some initial work was done with a plan to ready Eastern Market for the future, but the economic downturn hit and those were put on the shelf. They need to be updated and interest in the area, which started in 1891, is at a fever pitch. How to handle that interest, new development, and inevitable change while sticking to the roots of the market will be a challenge.

“As we approach our 125th anniversary in 2016, recharging the Eastern Market District redevelopment strategy is critical,” said Dan Carmody, president of Eastern Market Corp. “While we have enjoyed recent growth, the pace of investment is likely to accelerate in the coming years and we need a framework that allows us to maintain our authenticity as a working food district while welcoming new uses. Vigorous engagement of the district’s many stakeholders is essential for the development of a plan that will lead to successful implementation.”

Part of the plan is to pull together local and international experts to update the former 2008 strategy. To guide the process and ensure the authenticity of the area is kept, there will be a task force which will include local residents. There also will be an awareness component.

“As part of Detroit’s history and central core, Eastern Market is already playing a big role in its revitalization,” said Katy Locker, Knight Foundation program director for Detroit. “This recharged development strategy will ensure that all of the district’s stakeholders are included in its growth and enhancement. It will also focus on preserving the history of the district, while taking into account new opportunities and the interests of adjacent neighborhoods.”

There has been a lot of focus on the Eastern Market district as of late. New streetscaping, various shed improvements, a commercial kitchen for food entrepreneurs, as well as the impending connection of the Dequindre Cut to the market creating a pedestrian and bike-friendly path from the waterfront are all coming together to bolster the neighborhood that already sees two million visitors annually.

Looking forward, what do you want to see most at Eastern Market?