Thursday, October 20, 2011

rumors of fenton street market's death are greatly exaggerated

Fenton Street Market, May 22
Fenton Street Market in May 2010.

A week after it seemed Fenton Street Market was gone for good, the well-loved flea market in downtown Silver Spring's received a stay of execution. The following comes from Hannah McCann, East Silver Spring resident and Fenton Street Market's creator:
We have heard your rallying cry, Silver Spring! And we’ve heard that Montgomery County is ready to make some constructive amendments to its RFP for a public market on Veterans Plaza. With better hope of securing a future, Fenton Street Market will renew its efforts to win a contract to come back next year. Thank you to FSM project manager Megan Moriarty, who has volunteered to work pro bono on drafting a proposal in response to the RFP. There are some easy ways that you too can help.  
Fenton Street Market’s proposal will be supplemented with testimonials from the community on why the market is an asset to Silver Spring. If you haven’t already, please add your comments to our online petition at And please consider forwarding those comments to Ike Leggett (County Executive), David Dise (Director of the Department of General Services), and your local Council representative. They’re listening! And for that we’re grateful. 
The staff, vendors, and customers of Fenton Street Market are also tremendously grateful to Megan for bringing new energy to our fight for a future. A resident of downtown Silver Spring, Megan exhibited as a jewelry artist at the very first Fenton Street Market in 2009. Many know her from her community organizing with Impact Silver Spring; recently, in addition to working for Fenton Street Market, Megan has been coordinating the start-up of Blessed Coffee, another Montgomery County -based Benefit Corporation. “I love the intersection of community-building and entrepreneurship,” says Megan. “I feel like the experiment Fenton Street Market started is worth trying to continue and grow.”  
For more information on Fenton Street Market’s negotiations with Montgomery County, or to offer assistance, contact
Megan Moriarty saves the day! She's an East County native and recently graduated from the University of Maryland's city planning program. Since then, she's kept herself busy working with IMPACT Silver Spring and serving on a committee of the Silver Spring Citizens Advisory Board, among other endeavors. I'm glad to see she's offered to help Fenton Street Market stay in business.

Meanwhile, it looks like MoCo officials felt the pressure from community residents who support Fenton Street Market and filled a petition in favor of it sticking around. I'm glad they listened. I also hope that the county takes a good, hard look at their approach to programming urban centers like downtown Silver Spring.

It's important to ensure that everyone gets a chance to use Veterans Plaza, but micromanaging how they do so can kill the space's vitality. No one should be surprised that the county's Request For Proposals for other markets in Veterans Plaza didn't get many takers as it was written, because it was too strict. It's probably better to step back and let Fenton Street Market continue doing its thing (supporting local artists and pumping money into the local economy) rather than dictating what a public market should be like and having nothing at all.


Terry in Silver Spring said...

Good news! I really like the market.

"It's important to ensure that everyone gets a chance to use Veterans Plaza, but micromanaging how they do so can kill the space's vitality."

Oh, but MontCo is all about the micromanaging, sometimes with good results and sometimes not. In this case, they need to give the Market folks some room. You have an event that was developed and driven by the community. Don't squash it, MontCo.

Evan Glass said...

Dan - your use of this blog as a platform to support the market is also much appreciated. Thank you.