Cleveland City Council Approves Mayor Bibb's Proposed Legislation Designed to Spur Growth at West Side Market

click to enlarge Changes to be proposed to City Council to spur growth at West Side Market. - Erik Drost/Flickr CC
Erik Drost/Flickr CC
Changes to be proposed to City Council to spur growth at West Side Market.
Update: On Monday, March 21, Cleveland City Council approved legislation advanced by Mayor Justin M. Bibb’s office designed to address issues plaguing the historic public market. Alcohol sales, long prohibited, will be considered on a case-by-case basis, lease terms will more flexible, and the disparity between prepared food vendors and traditional food sellers will be eliminated.

Original article dated 02-25-2022 follows:

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Today, Mayor Justin M. Bibb’s office announced that it will propose multi-faceted legislation to City Council on Monday that is designed to address issues currently plaguing the historic West Side Market. Issues like soaring vacancies, unfriendly lease and rent contracts, and inconsistent stall regulations will be addressed in the proposed legislation.

“Vacancy at the West Side Market is currently at 32%,” Mayor Bibb stated. “The proposed changes seek to close the gap and set the stage for growth at the West Side Market with fairer and flexible lease agreements for all. The proposed legislation opens the door to new opportunities for growth, providing security to our existing vendors and flexibility to attract seasonal vendors to the market.”

The legislation, which will be introduced to City Council on Monday, February 28, includes the following proposed changes:

• Hold rent rates at their 2020 levels for 2022 and cap annual rent increases to no more than a 3% increase in future years

• Allow the City to enter leases for up to three years with one, three-year option to renew. Currently, the City is not permitted to enter leases for longer than one year at a time, which prevents some businesses from securing financing and is a disincentive for those who may want to invest in their space

• Permit short-term leases, which would allow the West Side Market to consider daily pop-up events, seasonal vendors, and food trucks

• Charge prepared food vendors the same rate as traditional (butcher, meat, vegetable) vendors. Currently, prepared food vendors pay a 60% premium on space compared to traditional vendors

• Repeal the City of Cleveland ordinance that prohibits alcohol sales at West Side Market stands

Additionally, the Bibb administration is requesting authorization to renew a prior agreement with Ohio City, Inc., which maintained a fund to benefit the West Side Market during its centennial celebration in 2012. The legislation also would authorize the City and Ohio City, Inc. to continue collecting donations for the West Side Market, which would be used for programs that benefit the Market, including marketing, establishing new revenue-generating activities, and long-term planning.

City Council must pass the legislation before any proposed changes can take effect.

About The Author

Douglas Trattner

For 20 years, Douglas Trattner has worked as a full-time freelance writer, editor and author. His work on Michael Symon's "Carnivore," "5 in 5" and “Fix it With Food” have earned him three New York Times Best-Selling Author honors, while his longstanding role as Scene dining editor garnered the award of “Best...
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