Vendors are worried the market will lose its historic charm and customers. Members of a steering committee recently announced plans to put $12 million into the century-old market. Some of the business owners here are worried certain renovation plans will cost Soulard its rich tradition.
The owner of GCI Carpet, inside the market, is worried a large-scale renovation could shut Soulard down temporarily. He remembers his parents worked at the old union market downtown 40 years ago. He says similar renovation plans backfired.
”And, nobody would come back, said Theodore Greenfield. “No customers would come back. No vendors would come back. It was too expensive. It wasn’t a destination to be. This is a destination to be.”
He plans to join other vendors at a public meeting today from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Ninth Street Abbey, 1808 S. Ninth in Soulard. Planners and city officials will answer questions about the proposed changes from both vendors and shoppers.
Those changes could include infrastructure upgrades to the electrical and plumbing systems as well as turning the nearby gym into cooking classrooms and a dining hall.
City officials tell us they will get the money for the project from park bonds and private sponsorships.