RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - It took nearly two years but the 17th Street Farmers Market is finally back open for business.
With the support of an energized count down from the crowd, Mayor Levar Stoney cut the ribbon in front of hundreds waiting to experience the new plaza for the first time.
“It’s revamped and renewed, it’s not like it was back in the day,” said Matthew Zeppa among the crowd.
The big attraction for its opening day, a public ice skating rink called ‘RVA on Ice.’
Capital One is sponsoring it.
We have our ear to the ground as to what’s going on indifferent parts of the city and in particular we’re excited to invest in Shockoe bottom we believe it’s a vibrant community with a lot of opportunity," said Capitol One Vice-President of Design Heather Winkle.
The rink is already adding new sense of life to the new farmers market and it couldn’t have happened soon enough.
The 17th Street redevelopment was plagued with construction delays.
Businesses and market vendors in the immediate areas suffered.
With the the construction out the way, the restaurants and shops around the market are expected to bounce back.
“This is not just a new venue or a new plaza this is a community development project that Mayor Stoney has marshaled through to this point right now,” said John Sydnor with Enrichmond.
Enrichmond was of the entities that helped bring this new version of the market to life.
The new venue can facilitate live music, and with the increased foot traffic Syndor says the community interest in the plaza won’t just peak at the new attractions.
“We saw the power of 'RVA on Ice’ driving people downtown and put folks that may not come downtown more, bringing families downtown,” said Sydnor. “We are working with the local businesses who have been waiting for this.”
With the renewed interest in Shockoe Bottom, investors say there will be new opportunities to highlight the history of the area including the Lumpkins Slave trail, among others.
The 17th Street Market can support up to 70 vendors and is expected to open at full capacity in the Spring.
‘RVA on Ice' will remain open until the end of January.