Letter from the Executive Director: 17th Street Market
Published on May 1st, 2019 by Enrichmond Foundation
Twenty-five years is a long time. That’s how long Enrichmond has been involved in the 17th Street Market. Back in 1994, we were among those sustaining and creating a vision for this historic market and public space and, over the years, we have had a hand in helping it come to life. Along the way, we were responsible for securing job creation funding, maintenance, programming, and for planning a range of increasingly popular events that maintained an active public space. Most recently, Enrichmond played an integral role in helping shape the 17th Street Market’s renaissance. While we were not responsible for the construction of the new space, we helped kick off the next chapter in its life, particularly by planning seasonal and holiday programming and events since it reopened to the public last November. In short, we have helped the 17th Street Market become one of Richmond’s iconic public places.
With the final touches on the space being planned and the City assuming control of all aspects of the Market – including our contracted work in programming – beginning July 1, I wanted you to know how proud Enrichmond is for the strides achieved as the market came to life under our brief interlude in its long and storied history. We will watch from the sidelines as the next chapter begins with the City and Legacy vendors leading the charge. We can’t wait to see what is next for this special space.
Meanwhile, there is much for Enrichmond to focus on, like the relaunch of Richmond’s oldest farmers market on May 2, Historic Evergreen and East End Cemeteries, TreeLab, and our amazing volunteer-driven, community-based Friends groups who inspire us each and every day. Stay tuned for great placemaking news!
We are grateful for your continued support and look forward to continuing to make a positive difference throughout our community.
What was the partnership between the City of Richmond and Enrichmond that was created to relaunch the 17th Street Market?
The partnership was a great approach to tackle both sides of the task of rebuilding historic 17th Street Market.
1. City of Richmond – Responsible for construction and maintenance.
Demolition, design, construction, and purchase and installation of all new fixtures: updated water and electrical service, light poles, benches, trees, utility sheds, trash cans, water fountains, bull heads, and bell.
2. Enrichmond – Responsible for space activation and programming to serve the community.
Special events and everyday programming managed directly by Enrichmond and in partnership with other groups. Special events included RVA on Ice, Bacon Festival, Dog Festival, and Cider Celebration. Regular programming like the relaunched weekly farmers market with legacy vendors, Second Weekends, live entertainment, healthy lifestyle classes, and other markets, like the Richmond Night Market. Beautification of the space including plantings, trash pick-up, etc.
Why did the City take back management of the Market?
Enrichmond serves at the pleasure of the City and steps up when needed. The 17th Street Market was one such instance and we have assisted in fulfilling the City’s request to activate the space. It has been an honor to do so. Recent budget discussions and the movement of the Market contract from the City’s Dept. of Economic Development to the Dept. of Parks and Recreation allowed the City the opportunity to take management in house.
What’s going to happen to the festivals?
We have been proud to host our unique festivals at the 17th Street Market space for the past several years. We will now utilize the festivals to promote and activate other public open spaces in the Greater Richmond area.
The Richmond Bacon Festival will not be held in the 17th Street Market space and the location is TBD. Please reach out to the Event Manager with questions regarding the events.
Will the farmers market continue?
We’re committed to seeing the farmers market remain an essential part of the renovated space, with the legacy vendors highlighted. Starting on July 1, the City will assume control of space activation, including the farmers market. Until that time, Enrichmond will continue its weekly farmers market as planned.
Will weekly programming, like yoga and capoeira, continue?
Similar to the farmers market, weekly programming under Enrichmond will continue until July 1st. After that time, the City is responsible for activating the space.
Where will I be able to find information about the Market?
We will share where to find the City’s information about the Market as soon as it is available. Until then, you can still find information about our programming at the Market on our website, Facebook, and Instagram. We will provide City contact information in the weeks ahead should you have questions about this transition, including rentals, programming, and events.