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York authority votes to take ownership of Penn Market

Plans to seek grants to upgrade 151-year-old building

The York Redevelopment Board voted unanimously in favor of taking over Penn Market, which has been struggling in recent years. - (Photo / File)

Hoping to make a wide range of improvements to the facility, York City officials have voted to take ownership of the city’s struggling Penn Market.

The city Redevelopment Authority voted unanimously Wednesday to buy the market, a move that will make the West Market Street venue more eligible for grants and other financial help, city officials said.

The 151-year-old market needs new doors and windows, a brick restoration and other improvements, Shilvosky Buffaloe, York City’s interim director of economic and community development, said after Wednesday’s Revelopment Authority meeting.

“For us, this gives us a chance to preserve the envelope of the building, make critical systems improvements to the property” and take other steps, Buffaloe said.

The move is not permanent, city officials said, adding that the city expects to own the property just for a few years. 

But the York redevelopment board’s temporary ownership of Penn Market, York’s oldest indoor farmers’ market, is expected to help the facility receive more government funds for needed improvements, Buffaloe said.

A sale price has not been determined.

“The intent is not to buy at the market rate,” the Redevelopment Authority’s chairman, David Cross, said later Wednesday. “It’s simply to acquire it for whatever is necessary in order to allow the RDA to be in position to seek funding sources to assist the market.”

Opened in 1866, Penn Market in recent years has had to overcome hurdles ranging from a large number of vacant stands and the lack of locally-grown produce to the perception by some people that downtown York and the market’s environs are dangerous.

Penn Market had shortened its name from Market & Penn Farmers’ Market to its current name in late 2015.

It is considered a key hub of York’s WeCo (for West of the Codorus Creek) neighborhood and a visible attraction on the way into downtown York from the west.

A revitalized market also would complement other redevelopment efforts now taking place in York or planned in the near future, city officials have said.

David O'Connor
Dave O'Connor covers York County, manufacturing, higher education, nonprofits, and workforce development. Have a tip or question for him? Email him at [email protected].

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