"The rallying cry to move [downtown] has been building all summer, from vendors and customers alike," writes McCann, who as of this writing was being rushed to the hospital for the birth of her child, in an e-mail to JUTP.
The weekly flea market is currently held Saturdays from 9am to 3pm between April and October in a parking lot at the corner of Fenton Street and Silver Spring Avenue. McCann, who lives down the street from the lot, approached owner Ulysses Glee last fall about holding a flea market there.
Glee obliged, but noted that he had plans to build on the property eventually. Next year, construction will begin on a condominium and hotel complex at the site, forcing McCann to find a new location. She approached Reemberto Rodriguez, director of the Silver Spring Regional Services Center, and Jennifer Nettles, marketing director for the Downtown Silver Spring complex, which holds its own weekly farmers' market on Ellsworth Drive.
"They both encouraged me to go for the plaza," she says. "I knew I had to move in the direction of [downtown] for the survival of the market, and what could be a better, more natural fit than being across from the farm market?"
A senior editor for Architect magazine, McCann appreciates the success of Veterans Plaza, which opened in July. "I love the spontaneous community gatherings that have been happening there--the drums, the tai chi," she writes. The market's vendors - thirty to sixty are featured there each week - have been excited about the increased visibility that being in the middle of downtown Silver Spring provides, adds McCann.
McCann started the market to draw business to the Fenton Village neighborhood, and says she's "committed" to ensuring the area's vibrancy. "We're still going to be working for Fenton Village," she says. Village Square, a section of the market set aside for workshops and other events, will now be used to exhibit Fenton Village businesses. The market will also do special events in Fenton Village, including a special holiday market following the Thanksgiving Day parade in November.
With downtown Silver Spring's two big markets now across the street from each other, McCann suggests that the area will become an even bigger draw. "Our little market is hitting the big time," she writes. "There's a new Eastern Market in town!
This will be great for activating the plaza and the Fenton/Ellsworth area more generally, but we need to work on bringing more activity and foot traffic south of Wayne.
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