Bibb Announces West Side Market Will Become Nonprofit

Master Planning process estimated to last 10 months

click to enlarge Justin Bibb accepts the endorsement of Kerry McCormack outside the West Side Market, (9/7/21). - Sam Allard / Scene
Sam Allard / Scene
Justin Bibb accepts the endorsement of Kerry McCormack outside the West Side Market, (9/7/21).

Making good on a priority he identified on the 2021 campaign trail, Cleveland Mayor Justin Bibb announced Thursday that the iconic West Side Market will begin a transition to nonprofit management.

In a press release, Bibb said the city would maintain ownership of the Ohio City institution at the corner of W. 25th Street and Lorain Avenue, but through a "master planning" process, the management and day-to-day operations of the facility would be handed over to a nonprofit.

Bibb hired Jessica Trivisonno as his Chief Strategist for the West Side Market before he was even sworn in, signaling his responsiveness to vendors and members of the community, who have long clamored for nonprofit management after years of deteriorating service under former Mayor Frank Jackson.

Trivisonno, according to the release, will manage the master planning process alongside the national consulting firm Market Ventures Inc.  The city estimates that the process will take roughly 10 months to complete.

“Master planning for the West Side Market is key to ensuring this transition is successful," said Bibb, in the release. "The West Side Market is a Cleveland jewel that has so much potential for growth and community impact. We will have a strong strategy and specific solutions to problems that have challenged the Market before we hand operations off to a nonprofit to lead the West Side Market in its second century.”

Vendors have previously told Scene  that they desired a more communicative relationship with City Hall. In January, Bibb and Trivisonno and other members of the administration met with vendors to hear their concerns: among them the need for active marketing to attract customers, the enforcement of quality standards, and the exploration of new nonprofit management.

Councilman Kerry McCormack, whose Ward 3 includes the Market and who endorsed Bibb for Mayor in its shadow shortly before the 2021 primary election, affirmed his support for the transition.

“I am thrilled that after years of advocacy, Mayor Bibb has made the Market a top priority from day one of his administration," he said. "I fully support the plan to convert the Market to an independent nonprofit operation, as this approach has proven to be a best practice across the country."

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Sam Allard

Sam Allard is the Senior Writer at Scene, in which capacity he covers politics and power and writes about movies when time permits. He's a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University and the NEOMFA at Cleveland State. Prior to joining Scene, he was encamped in Sarajevo, Bosnia, on an...
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