A year-round marketplace with space for artists would work well in the former City of Red Deer transit barns if it had a mix of private ownership and city involvement.
The Year Round Market and Artisan Spaces report going forward to Red Deer city council on Monday suggests the best option is to have someone build the year-round market but that the city would have a guiding interest in the project and building use.
The Greater Downtown Action Plan done in 2009 suggested a public market and arts studio complex could work inside the barns within Riverlands, an area west of Taylor Drive set for mixed-use development.
A further report, Community Culture Vision and Outline for Action, also supported this idea.
But the Commercial Market Opportunities Study done by a Vancouver consulting firm last summer said that the Red Deer trading area isn’t large enough to be viable for a full-time speciality food market.
Last November, community members were invited to a session to discuss what they thought about the venture and how it should develop.
The option people liked best was to have private ownership with city investment. The second favourite was city ownership but contracting out operations.
Other possible scenarios include city ownership, city operated; private ownership and development only; and having the market owned and run by a co-operative. The 52 participants who attended the session also gave their top-10 picks for what should be included at the market.
They suggested preference for strong local art to buy and food to dine on, plus locally grown produce. Other priorities included: outdoor space with trees, public art, artist studios and having the market stationed in an environmentally friendly building.
The report says that community markets are growing in popularity across Canada and the United States. Calgary has three year-round markets and seven seasonal ones.
Red Deer’s longtime public market runs Saturdays from May through October.