The temporary home planned for vendors displaced by the fire that ravaged the brick structure at Harrisburg’s Broad Street Market is being donated by the owner of Millworks.
Josh Kesler, owner of Millworks, a restaurant and brewery at 340 Verbeke St., said the open space he owns is the perfect location to erect a tent to house the displace vendors because it is right across the street from the market’s stone building, which survived the July 10 blaze.
Harrisburg officials announced at a press conference on Tuesday plans to construct a temporary structure while the community works to rebuild.
“Right now, we’re working with a number of companies that work on temporary structures,” City Business Administrator Dan Hartman said. “That’s something we’re hoping to have lined up in a few days.
“I’ve worked on the market for years and know a lot of the vendors,” Kesler, who is a past chair of the Broad Street Market board, said. “They were asking about the ability to set up a tent and I told them they could put it on my lot.”
Kesler said in talks with Mayor Wanda Williams, the tent solution made sense.
“It’s my understanding that it will have utilities like electricity and running water so the vendors can operate,” he said. “It will have its own floor.”
Hartman said the city wants to give the vendors a “great workspace” while everything works out on the historical preservation and rehabilitation side. The city wants that place to be safe, secure and allow them to operate their businesses, he said.
Currently, Kesler uses the space for special events and offers it to nonprofits for their events.
“We had some plans over the next year to create a permanent beer garden, but we’re putting them on hold,” he said. “It makes sense to make it a temporary market.”
Kesler said the temporary market, which he hopes can be installed in the next few weeks, is a top priority for him, the City of Harrisburg, the vendors and the community because, not only are the numerous small businesses not able to operate, but a lot of people get their fresh food there.
“The brick building is where most of the fresh food was sold,” Kesler said. “There are a lot of people who rely on the market for their food. Many of them don’t have transportation. This is really important to the city and to me.”
Kesler said the city will cover the costs to erect the tent and will restore the property once the market is rebuilt.
“I will give this to the city and the market as long as they need it,” he said. “My mission for opening Millworks was to help make this neighborhood a walkable community and the market is critical for that.”