Richmond to tear down Shockoe Bottom Farmers Market, build urban - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

Richmond to tear down Shockoe Bottom Farmers Market, build urban plaza

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) -

Parking in Shockoe Bottom could soon become an even bigger nightmare. The city is moving forward with plans to tear down the Farmers Market. The state's oldest market place is on the chopping block.

"The market has got to go," said Shockoe Bottom bar owner Tommy Goulding.

Goulding's bar sits right across the street from the 17th Street Farmers Market.

"Anything will be better than what it already is," said Goulding.

But some Richmond natives are not so sure about scratching a Shockoe Bottom staple with so much history.

"I like the cobblestone and my parking," said Tamika "So no. Don't get rid of it."

Critics of the market say it has become nothing more than a glorified parking lot. The city has set aside $2.1 million in to level the market and revamp the surrounding area.

"This is the heart of the bottom and we want to create an urban plaza," said Jeannie Welliver with the city Economic Development Department.

The city is seeking architects to plan extended sidewalks for outdoor dining and wi-fi access among other things.

"Yes," said Welliver of the existing market. "This will be taken away."

As the market comes down, a new Main Street train shed will come up with Franklin Street access.

"For pedestrians, bicycles," said Welliver. "The capitol bike trail will have a leg through the Main Street Station. We are going to create a welcome center there."

The city also wants to put the Bottom utility lines underground. They are still working on a timeline, but they hope to select an architect next week.

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