CLEVELAND (WJW) – Cleveland’s West Side Market is getting a big “shot in the arm”, thanks to an injection of $10 million dollars in federal COVID relief funds.
On Monday night, Cleveland City Council approved the use of the money from the American Rescue Plan Act to help give the market a major facelift.
It’s already obvious to visitors to Ohio City that times are changing at the historic complex at West 25th and Lorain, starting with repairs to the market’s iconic tower, which will now feature a clock that works.
The current West Side Market has been one of Cleveland’s civic treasures for more than a century, but vendors say the historic complex is showing its age and has fallen into disrepair from years of neglect.
“We have leaks in the roof over here, so everybody that’s working here has water on their head and we have to put out buckets when it rains,” said Jason Scott, operator of Greg’s Produce.
Scott and other vendors have been pleading with the City of Cleveland for years to renovate the market.
“The challenges are the elevators, and the lights go out when we have any kind of power situations going on, we should have a generator, any other place has a generator,” said Scott.
Some vendors are encouraged by the city council’s approval on Monday of the use of $10 million dollars in federal funding from ARPA to make repairs to the market.
City leaders say the funds are in addition to $3.3 million that the council approved in 2022 to install a new roof on the market, $1.25 million to replace three freight elevators and a total of $10.5 million earmarked for improvements since 2019.
Council President Blaine Griffin told Fox 8, “We think it’s enough, that it can jump-start the process. We are going to have to look at other revenue streams of funding because they need so much more work and so many more repairs.”
City Council is also considering funding mechanisms for additional repairs, which could include increasing parking fees in the market’s parking lot when the complex is not open for business.
Even though the market needs at least another $20 million in repairs, some vendors feel the city’s new commitment is the first step to ensure that the West Side Market will continue to be one of Cleveland’s crown jewels for generations to come.
“It’s a very big deal because nobody has come in here and said they’re going to fix up the market and do anything for us until right now and that’s what I’m so happy about,” said Jason Scott.