Work progressing on downtown market

PARKERSBURG – Work on a new downtown market is progressing, though much more remains to be done.

Mayor Bob Newell said several area foundations have donated money to help renovate the building at 113 Ann St. The building was obtained by the city in May through a land-swap deal.

The building will become the site of a permanent downtown marketplace, similar to Capitol Market in Charleston.

Newell said crews have already installed a concrete pad in front of the building, including a wheelchair accessible ramp, to make the building ADA accessible. Crews also have begun work on the outside of the building.

“We are leaving the front brick exposed, and we are going to use a kind of metal siding to cover the (cinder) block areas, something trendy like you’d see in the bigger cities,” he said.

The McDonough Foundation donated $66,000 for the installation of a 122-foot pitched roof over part of the building, Newell said. The city also has received a $5,000 grant from the Oakland Foundation for general construction work.

The funds are in addition to $10,000 the city received as part of the land swap.

Newell said some areas of construction have already been put out for bid and should be awarded this week. Some of the construction will require the use of a crane, so Newell said other areas, such as the building’s back parking lot, won’t be put out for bid or have work done until the heavy machinery is removed.

Newell said the state Department of Agriculture also has expressed interest in the project.

“They are very interested in establishing a market here under the department like they have done in Charleston,” he said. “They actually go out and find vendors and may bring in produce from other parts of the state.”

Newell said the department also could help the city with management of the market.

“It makes it a much bigger market,” he said. “We’re very excited about their involvement. They’ve not committee to anything yet, but we are anticipating they will.”

Officials plan to remove as many of the interior walls as possible and strip the load-bearing walls down to the natural brick. The building also has small offices located at the back and two loading-dock styled areas in the back, which open up options for offices and other vendors.

The city also will create outside dining areas, both in front of the building and also on a second-level deck. Those on the upper deck will be able to look out above the floodwall to view the river.

Eventually the city’s Downtown Farmers Market will move from its location in Bicentennial Park to this new location just outside of Point Park.

“I would like to have it open in some capacity by this fall,” Newell said. “It will definitely be the location of this year’s Winter Market.”