Wednesday, March 9, 2016/lk
DALLAS — Polk County Bounty Market launches its seventh season at the Academy Building lawn in May, but there has been exploration of moving it back downtown in the future.
The Dallas Area Visitors Center, which runs the market, conducted a survey of downtown businesses and market vendors to answer questions posed by the Dallas City Council about the best location.
Monday, Chelsea Metcalfe, the visitors center executive director, reported the results to the council during its monthly workshop.
All 12 of the core market vendors who responded to the survey about the location said they would prefer to stay on the Academy lawn near the corner of Main and Academy streets.
Bonnie Dreier, the market manager, said most vendors would make the move, though some reluctantly. One vendor wouldn’t return if the market was moved and others would have to make a choice.
“Several of the vendors commented that this is not the market they make the most money in,” Metcalfe said. “They make money in larger markets … but because they are Polk County businesses, they want to invest in their community and be a part of what is here.”
Of downtown businesses, two-thirds of the 28 businesses surveyed would like the market downtown, Metcalfe said.
“Most believe that hosting the market downtown will increase their foot traffic, which we don’t disagree with that, but wonder if that is our purpose in bringing the market downtown,” Metcalfe said.
The market would not be able to use the Polk County Courthouse lawn due to upkeep costs during the 22-week season. That means closing a street to put on the market each week. Parking limitation and noise while court is in session were also concerns voiced in the survey.
City Manager Ron Foggin said the issue with the current location is that the market is more likely to “fall off people’s radar” because it is not as visible.
Metcalfe proposed if the Academy location remains — which market vendors and managers would prefer — that the market work in partnership with downtown businesses and Dallas Downtown Association to highlight what is available downtown.
“But we also believe there is an excellent opportunity and value in partnering with the downtown businesses, particularly through the DDA, in making Thursdays a bigger event in all of our downtown,” Metcalfe said.