HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — Midstaters who weren’t Broad Street Market vendors but shopped there lost a lot: History. Nostalgia. Community.
But some lost something a lot more essential.
“You have so many people around the broad street market, especially in the three elderly high-rises in close proximity to the market, who rely on the market for their food,” said Matt Maisel, the city’s spokesperson.
Maisel said preventing a “food desert,” as areas without a lot of fresh food options are often known, will be a priority when a temporary market opens in August at the northeast corner of the intersection of Third and Verbeke Streets, across the street from the Midtown Scholar bookstore, on land owned by the owner of the nearby Millworks restaurant and gallery.
“What we really think is important is that we get as many meat an produce vendors involved in this as possible,” Maisel said.
The temporary market will be a tent with “all the modern amenities,” Daniel Hartman, the city’s business administrator, told media Tuesday morning. Hartman said it’ll have “It will be sided. It will be air-conditioned or heated, depending on the season.”
Hartman said state and county leaders are working well with city leaders. He said the city can learn from the experiences of other cities that have rebuilt markets but that because every city’s and state’s laws are different, there’s no one “playbook” to follow for the Broad Street Market’s reconstruction.
“But the cooperation that’s here, I think, is going to write a playbook for the future,” Hartman said.
Hartman said an eventual permanent reconstructed market will meet modern codes with fire sprinklers, handicapped-accessible restrooms, and so forth. But — citing Fire Chief Brian Enterline’s initial assessment that the exterior brick walls of even the worst-charred part of the building seemed to withstand the fire and water from firefighting efforts well — Hartman said leaders are hopeful they can preserve the historic exterior walls.
Leaders haven’t projected when the reconstruction could be complete. Hartman said the bidding process will be unlike any other because of the need to find contractors capable of safely incorporating the details — of the collapsed roof, for example — necessary to honor the 160-year-old market’s history.