By Lindsay Hedgecock
Lansing Star staff writer
The Lansing City Market’s new location and building, which opened in December 2009, has more issues out-weighing the benefits, according to local residents and vendors.
The main issue is that local residents and vendors feel that the new building has lost its character.
“The market has its own pulse, its own heartbeat. People come from all aspects of life and we’ve become a family,” said Michael Neller, who recently moved back to Lansing with his wife, Jenifer Neller. “But the atmosphere in the new market just isn’t the same as it used to be over in the old market.”
The old Lansing City Market building, at Cedar St. and Shiawassee Street was closed and demolished the same month the new location for the Lansing City Market opened up at 325 City Market Drive.
According to Amanda Snook, Marketing Manager for Lansing Entertainment and Public Facilities Authority, the new Lansing City Market was built to be more eco-friendly.
“The structure is slightly smaller, with better lighting and heating,” said Snook. “The new market was built to bring down costs because fixing a post World War II building was to costly.”
Pam Haddix, producer at Hickory Corners Greenhouse & Nursery in Bath, Mich., says that the new location has few benefits compared to the negative aspects.
“The building has heating in the winter and air conditioning in the summer,” said Haddix. “But the size of the new building has been a little prohibitive of how much space people can have, and it affects the diversity of what people can sell.”
Parking was to improve with the new location, which is not the case according to Lansing resident Jenifer Neller, who said that “the new parking is horrible.”
Snook stated that parking is an issue and they are attempting to work out the problem but has limited space.
Local resident Jan Bowlin said that there are fewer local farmers and more “food-court vendors” at the new location.
“I liked it better before they made it so commercial,” said Bowlin, who has been coming to the Lansing City Market for more than 40 years. “I thought the new location was supposed to be geared toward actual farm markets, this feels like a food market or a food court.”
Bowlin said she wants to see more produce from local farmers at the market.
According to Snook, all the businesses from the old location moved to the new location. She does agree with Bowlin, that more local farmers should sell their produce.
“Public as a whole needs to get back to eating locally and seasonally,” said Snook. “I would love to have more local farmers sell their produce. But it’s up to them to step up to the plate.”