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Nonprofit to take over Cleveland's West Side Market in 2024

Senior strategic Jessica Trivisonno presents the West Side Market master plan before Cleveland City Council.
Abbey Marshall
Ideastream Public Media
Senior strategic Jessica Trivisonno presents the West Side Market master plan before Cleveland City Council.
Updated: November 27, 2023 at 6:26 PM EST
Cleveland City Council has announced the first executive director of the nonprofit that will oversee the $44 million expansion of the West Side Market in Ohio City.

Rosemary Mudry will take the reigns of the Cleveland Public Market Corporation, the organization tasked with shepherding the more than 100-year-old market through an expansion plan that will add a commercial kitchen, event spaces and a prepared food hall.

Mudry currently leads West Park Kamm's Neighborhood Development.

The nonprofit Cleveland Public Market Corporation will soon take over day-to-day operations and steward the city-owned market through a $44 million master plan, which includes expansion plans like a commercial kitchen, event spaces and a prepared food hall after the city council approved the market's lease during the council meeting Monday night.

The city currently operates West Side Market at an approximately $700,000 annual loss and last year, the vendor vacancy rate was 32%, said West Side Market Senior Strategist Jessica Trivisonno. Even still, it is among Cleveland's most visited attractions with 800,000 yearly visitors.

"One of the most exciting things about the West Side Market is what we already have in it: the vendors, the quality of vendors, the multigenerational vendors, the grandeur of this building," said Councilmember Kerry McCormack, whose Ward 3 includes the West Side Market. "There's so much inherent potential already built in this market."

The city announced the creation of a nonprofit earlier this year to address serious issues, including ineffective management by the city government and a backlog of deferred maintenance, which a city report said is hurting the market's bottom line.

The latest master plan for the market's revitalization is one of many over the years, but city council's transfer of management to the Cleveland Public Market Corporation is a step toward making good on that vision, Trivisonno said.

In addition to a dedicated staff of people who will focus on fundraising, sponsorship and revenue models, a nonprofit status will open the market up to between $10 and $13 million in tax credits not previously available to the city.

As part of the agreement, council will give the nonprofit $200,000 for initial administrative costs. The nonprofit will have to seek additional approval for an expected $700,000 a year, which they say will taper off once the market turns a profit with new revenue models.

"That potential that lies in the market can be unlocked with that type of structure we are discussing here today that many other cities have adopted," McCormack said.

The nonprofit is expected to assume operations early next year, Trivisonno said.

Abbey Marshall covers Cleveland-area government and politics for Ideastream Public Media.