KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — Major upgrades are coming to the Kalamazoo Farmers Market after a $500,000 grant was awarded to the city.
The money provided by the Irving S. Gilmore Foundation will allow the market to expand and make repairs.
The project will add new vendor stalls, create more than 100 parking spaces and double the size of the bathrooms. A playground, bike lanes, and a new music stage will also be added.
City commissioners accepted the grant at their meeting Monday night.
Market Manager Katelyn Bekken says the funding will make a significant impact. She says many visitors are especially excited about the plans for new bathrooms.
“Having larger bathrooms will be amazing,” Bekken said. “Right now on Saturdays, our big market day, there’s always a line out the door.”
The city has purchased property near the railroad crossing and will reroute Bank Street to widen that section of the market, which will help increase the total parking capacity to 375 spaces.
Susan DeLeo has been selling fresh produce at the market for decades and welcomes the improvements.
“I started with my parents when I was a baby. So about 65 years I have actually been here,” DeLeo said.
Her parents began selling at the market in the 1940s. She is excited about the project. She says the pavement and vendor stalls need attention.
“It’s getting rundown,” DeLeo said. “It needs painting.”
DeLeo hopes the project will preserve the farmers market for the future.
“This market is a wonderful place for everyone, but it just needs to be upgraded and taken care of,” DeLeo said. “I think that will ensure it will be open for years to come.”
Construction is scheduled to begin next year. City officials say the project will start with work on the vendor stalls and the construction of the new bathrooms.