CLEVELAND — A new year and a new administration at Cleveland City Hall may lead to a new beginning for the West Side Market.
On Thursday, Cleveland Mayor Justin Bibb attended a meeting with tenants at the historic city landmark as he hopes to forge a new relationship. "Today @BibbForCLE met with vendors at the @WestSideMarket to learn more about their concerns and what they want to see. We heard them loud and clear: better management, more robust marketing, and a City Hall that cares about them," the city of Cleveland posted on social media platforms following the meeting.
Thursday's meeting comes amid longstanding tensions between vendors at the 109-year-old market and the city, which owns and operates it. For years, tenants have complained that their voices were not being heard at city hall, causing them to deal with everything from a poor electrical system, to clogged drains, a damp basement, an unreliable elevator and outdated coolers in the merchant stalls.
“We had around 30 vendors who were able to attend today,” says Jessica Trivisonno, Senior Strategist of the West Side Market for the Bibb Administration. “We really spent most of the time asking vendors to tell us about their priorities and what they want to see happen with the West Side Market.”
The future of the West Side Market was one of the key issues during the recent Cleveland mayoral race. Bibb has already appointed two members of his team to help him plan the market's next chapter. Jessica Trivisonno is serving as the administration's senior strategist for the West Side Market, while Bibb's chief strategy officer Bradford Davy has been tasked with "leading a team that will move forward promises made during the campaign" such as addressing racial equity, lead, the West Side Market, arts and culture, and more.
"The West Side Market, its vendors, the community surrounding it, this City, and all who have ever visited, wanted to visit, or sought ways for the WSM to serve their needs deserve everything I can give this role. I’m excited for the challenge and grateful for the opportunity," Trivisonnno tweeted after her appointment.
Even before Thursday's meeting, one of the market's most vocal tenants expressed optimism about the new administration. "We look forward to working with all of you," Kate's Fish wrote in a Twitter post that tagged Bibb, Trivisonno, and Davy. "Together we will turn this historic institution around."
Kates Fish owner Tom McIntyre says, “A mayor has not come to the West Side Market since Michael White and now we’ve got a mayor who’s come to us on his fourth day in office and he says, ‘I’m here for you, I want to help the west side market thrive.’ That means a lot. Finally, we’re all pulling in the same direction, I hope.”
Previous West Side Market stories:
- Cleveland Mayor-elect Justin Bibb appoints 2 members of his administration that will replace the chief of staff's role
- Save the West Side Market: 'Cleveland Vibes' sells t-shirt to benefit market
- Cleveland City Council approves $2.1 million for improvements to West Side Market
- City of Cleveland reveals new vendor booth prototype for West Side Market