GREENVILLE — The Greenville Downtown Development Authority’s trial market nears the end of its inaugural season and the board is already looking into how to draw more people in next year.
The main topic of Tuesday’s regular DDA meeting was signage designed for the market and other activities that take place in Lafayette Park and a potential open-air structure built near it.
Although the board did not make a decision, deciding it better to wait until next year to ensure the market has built enough of a reputation and has more vendors, there was much discussion regarding what type of signage would best suit the area and what it should say.
Plans shown at Tuesday’s meeting included a pully system in which a 4-by-16-foot banner could be hung across M-91 at Lafayette Park and be drawn in by a string accessed from the sidewalk. City Manager George Bosanic said this was necessary because the Michigan Department of Transportation only allows banners for festivals or events to hang for three weeks at a time.
The pully system was designed so city workers would not have to rent equipment to continuously put up and take down the banner, as the market only occurs once a month currently.
The pully system would likely cost upward of $1,000 to purchase and install, according to City Engineer Doug Hinken.
As a result of the cost, DDA members decided a more universal banner which could promote many different activities at Lafayette Park would better justify installing the system.
“It has to be something that is versatile,” Mayor John Hoppough said. “If it is just a one-event banner, throwing it up on $1,000 cables, that’s not beneficial and that’s not sustainable.”
Board members discussed having a generic sign reading “Lafayette Park Event” or something similar.
DDA Chairman Roy LaMarte said the board could also look into an electronic sign that could display information on a number of events throughout the year.
The discussion was very preliminary and the board decided to delay further conversation until next year.
The trial market, scheduled from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. the last Saturday of each month from June to October, was created to gauge the level of interest a market-type activity would garner at Lafayette Park.
Last month, the DDA decided to continue pushing the market forward by dedicating money toward advertising, both to spread awareness of the market and to continue to add new vendors.
If the market proves successful, the DDA may consider a temporary structure to further test the site and also establish a group to operate it, with the ultimate goal being a more permanent, open-air structure.
Once the trial market is complete, there is still plenty of work to do before settling on a structure. A cost estimate must be conducted, as well as how the city will pay for it, whether it be through state grants, local grants and donations, or a combination.
Bosanic said last month a new opportunity for potential grant money became available from the state of Michigan.
“Apparently there was some leftover funds from other places that has been pooled and as a result has expanded the possibility for applications for projects,” he said. “This is good timing, because this is really kind of a coincidence.”
Applications for the grant are being accepted in the fall, according to Bosanic.
Because the grant is competitive, meaning several municipalities will be seeking it, Bosanic said the more the city can do to strengthen its case for the grant the better the chances. The trial market is a good example of showing action, he said.