EASTERN MARKET MERCHANTS TO BE RELOCATED, FLEA MARKET SUPPORTS
Washington, DC--A plan to relocate Eastern Market merchants displaced from the South Hall by the fire a week ago today to a temporary structure on the playground of the nearby Hine Junior High School was endorsed today by Tom Rall, manager of The Flea Market at Eastern Market, which has operated there on Sundays for 15 years.
The plan is expected to be announced at a public community meeting 7:30 tonight in the auditorium of the Hine School, located between 7th & 8th Streets along Pennsylvania Ave. SE.
"Out of the ashes of the South Hall can rise not only a short-term structure for displaced merchants but also the vision for further development of the ideas behind the unique public asset that has incubated as The Flea Market at Eastern Market these past 24 years under our management," Rall said.
"I believe" Rall continued, "compensatory public space can be utilized as part of the new design needed to accommodate both the merchants and the dozens of exhibitors that will be displaced by the structure.
"My optimism is fueled by the City Administration's rapid response to the crisis and, in particular, by a meeting I had Friday with Tommy Wells," DC City Councilman for the Eastern Market area, Rall reported. In short, Wells promised that the flea market could be expected to remain "fully in business" and that its management could participate in both the planning and implementation processes for the plan, Rall said.
"We have come a long way in the revitalization of the Capitol Hill neighborhood, centered around Eastern Market, these past 24 years. We now have the opportunity to create a model, already being studied pre fire, for the whole nation, post fire," Rall summarized.
PUBLIC OUTPOURING SPURS GOVERNMENT RESPONSE
"The public outpouring of concern for the Eastern Market community has truly been amazing," Rall reported, "And the people have helped spur an overwhelmingly positive response by Mayor Fenty and his entire administration."
"Our web site, EasternMarket.net averaged between 8,000 and 9,000 hits a day last year," reported Communications Director Michael Berman. "On Monday, April 30, the day of the fire, it received 103,624 hits and uploaded 1.15 million Kbytes of information."
By 9 a.m. Tuesday morning our Google News Alert service for "Eastern Market" had recorded more than 225 stories about the fire, Berman said. Not only did the coverage come from throughout the United States, much of it generated by an AP story, but also from as far away as New Zealand, South America, Europe, and India.
Donations came pouring in to the Capitol Hill Community Foundation "Eastern Market Keep It Going" campaign, which we announced last week. The Capitol Hill Restoration Society kicked it off with $10,000. A fundraiser by CHAMPS, the Capitol Hill Association of Merchants and Professionals, one of our business membership organizations, netted more than $58,000 in one evening.
Blogs jumped on the bandwagon and neighbors Jason Levine and Shannon Culbertson created a great new website, Save Eastern Market, devoted to tracking all the news.
And, most importantly, businesses returned on the weekend, including at least four which moved outside from their destroyed stands inside the market. The annual Market Day sponsored by Friendship House brought record crowds and ticket sales for the annual Mothers Day weekend House Tour sponsored by the Capitol Hill Restoration Society went forward.
Thank you all! Stay tuned to EasternMarket.net for updates!