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Market refresher

It’s been more than 30 years since the Central Market in
downtown Lancaster
has received a facelift. That’s a long time for the country’s oldest
continuously operating farmers’ market.

It’s been more than 30 years since the Central Market in
downtown Lancaster
has received a facelift. That’s a long time for the country’s oldest
continuously operating farmers’ market.

The structure, which was built in the late 1800s, needs
renovations to its plumbing, lighting, drainage and electrical systems, as well
as other improvements.

As a result, an improvement project totaling $7 million
should be under way at 23 N.
Market St. by the end of the year, said Charlotte
Katzenmoyer, director of public works for Lancaster.

“Many repairs have to be made – at a large cost – to the
existing building’s systems because the systems have outlived their design
life,” Katzenmoyer said. “Many of the improvements will reduce operational
costs and will make the building more enjoyable to the customers and visitors
of market.”

This month, Pennsylvania’s
government presented the city with a $3.5 million grant toward market
improvements. The city is kicking an additional $1 million into the project and
is requesting that the county make a similar contribution, Katzenmoyer said.

The Central Market Trust, which manages the market, also is
in the middle of a campaign to raise money to support the project. Including
city and county support, the trust already has raised about $2.3 million, said
Valerie Moul, chair of the trust.

The project will be completed in phases and will continue
into 2010, Moul said. The market is open yearround from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. on
Tuesdays and Fridays, and from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays.

“Many of the improvements that will be made will make the
building more efficient and provide more amenities to the standholders for
their businesses to operate in the market,” Katzenmoyer said.

Since the last renovation project at the market in the
1970s, demand for electricity, along with building codes, have changed, said
Nelson Rohrer, co-owner of Rohrer Family Farm Flowers and a member of the
Central Market Trust. As such, upgrades need to be made, he said.

“It is not our intent to change the market to take away from
what the historical aspect of market is,” Rohrer said. “It’s no different than
any other building. As things change with age, they need to be fixed or
replaced.”

Rohrer and his wife, Rose, have sold fresh-cut flowers at
the market for eight years.

Central Market is important to both the city and the county
because of the people who come from other areas of the county to sell and buy
various food items, said Christopher Barrett, president and chief executive
officer of the Pennsylvania Dutch Convention & Visitors Bureau.

“You get all the tastes of Lancaster County
under one roof. It’s awesome,” Barrett said. “(It) would be a real tragedy if
we weren’t investing in this structure. It’s an icon, no doubt about it. Now
it’s going to be preserved for decades.”

Susan Glouner took over the ownership of The Turkey Lady
because of her love for Central Market and the looming promise of a nearby
convention center. She sells a variety of turkey products, including sausage,
jerky and deli meat.

Seven years later, the Lancaster County
Convention Center is on
the brink of opening, and the market is preparing for its makeover of sorts.
Glouner also is now president of the Central Market Standholders Association.

Glouner said she is looking forward to new lighting,
air-chilling and drainage systems at the market.

“It’s going to be a long process, and it’ll be inconvenient
for a while for both customers and standholders, but in the end, we’re going to
have this beautiful old market that’s been polished and redone,” she said. “It
will just be great.”

 

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