Bulletin: May 18, 2007

Washington, DC--Though dozens of Flea Market at Eastern Market exhibitors displaced as a result of the April 30 fire at historic Eastern Market are being relocated, the popular market is continuing its Sunday operations at near pre-fire capacity, Manager Tom Rall announced today.
"The repeat customers upon whom many of our businesses depend may not find their favorite exhibitors in their previous locations, but they'll be nearby," Rall promised.
A first wave of exhibitor relocation began last weekend when many were moved into Seventh Street, which the City closed adjacent to the market building site.  The street closure, from North Carolina Avenue to C Street, will continue this weekend and "we hope at least through the reconstruction of the building," Rall said.
A second, larger, movement will begin this weekend on the Hine School lot across the street from the market. There, control of a 75' X 251' section of a playground, which previously contained more than six dozen exhibitor spaces on Sundays, has apparently been transferred from DC Public Schools to DC Government for construction of a temporary facility to house the South Hall food businesses destroyed in the fire.
"It's the most amazing positive reaction I've ever seen" in more than 24 years of dealing with DC agencies, Rall exclaimed. New fences cordoning off the section began placement on Wednesday and construction is expected to begin Monday, "only three weeks to the day from the fire." Announcement of the arrangements is expected at noon today by Mayor Adrian Fenty in a news conference at the site.
"Our staff has had to scramble to keep up with the changes, but we hope to manage an orderly process," of relocations Sunday, Rall continued. Two areas adjacent to the playground containing basketball and tennis courts, previously off limits to the flea market, have been promised for the exhibitor relocations.
Communications Director Mike Berman has reconfigured and mapped the new market spaces, Assistant Managers Rudy Coates and Charles Ellis have been ground-marking the new lay outs, and Reservations Manager Vernon Burnett has been coordinating with displaced exhibitors. Rall praised their efforts, "Everybody has been working long hours of overtime."

Committee Formed

Photographer Steve Miller has volunteered to chair an Exhibitor Relief Fund Committee that will also initially include exhibitors Joe Shymanski, Anita Jefferson, Katrina Ulrich, Jean-Louis Monfraix, manager Burnett and other volunteers. An initial meeting is planned for Sunday after the market.
"Before he turned to photography full time, Steve Miller spent most of his professional career as an administrator at social services agencies and is the perfect person" to head the group, Rall said.
Formation of the fund, to provide services primarily to outdoor exhibitors, was announced in our newsletter following the fire and donations have been accepted through a paypal.
Rall said the committee will establish a liaison with the highly successful "Eastern Market, Keep It Going" fund raising campaign conducted by Capitol Hill Community Foundation since the fire. Donations are still being accepted.