Yesterday, I noted how the city of Dallas spent $3.2 million in order to lure but a single new tenant to Shed 2. Last night, this laundry list of excellent ideas landed in our suggestion box. I've forwarded them along to Janel Leatherman, the market's administrator, and to Frank Poe, head of Convention and Event Services, which oversees the Dallas Farmers Market (and ... why?). And I thought I'd share them with you too.
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Astoundingly, the group that is responsible for getting people to travel across the country cannot get people to drive across town to the venue they are in charge of. Here's a few suggestions:
Resource Center: This place should be rocking twice daily with cooking classes, 7 days per week. Team up with local hospitals, they can present classes that deal with different segments of health: diabetes, cancer, weight loss, etc. Contact the travel & convention groups that cross market to Dallas (didn't I see a New Zealand ad on SideDish today?), like Santa Fe, etc. to promote their foods down there. It's an amazing facility that is sadly very underused. Turn it and burn it, baby.
Shed: Pony up city. Open one spot as a Dallas Food Co-op, where local small producers can share space, the city operates the labor. The vendors are allowed to have this for FREE, but are limited in the amount of space they can have. As their products take off, they may choose to form partnerships or expand into their own spaces. Cost of running is offset by the income. At least try this for 1 year, c'mon.
People: Get them down there -- now is the best weather and the best season to do it. Have bounce houses, face painters, let some street vendors set up for music, caricatures, etc. like on the RiverWalk in San Antonio. Make it a family oriented day, many are looking for a way to make fun out of chores these days. Take care of the groceries and entertain the kiddos? You betcha.
Concerts? Love that idea, as well as small events, like maybe a mini dog show, or cat show. Have guest speakers out on the promenades to discuss fruit and vegetable gardening.
Leases: One year? You've got to be kidding, why would anyone make the capital investment. $3 million on this project is like having the money to buy the shoes, but not the dress. They should "master plan" the spaces with differing sizes, and spend the money to get them built out and linked to the sewer lines. Any changes, modifications beyond that would be up to the tenant, with a 5 year guarantee to lease.
Get rid of the bureaucratic B.S. -- for every "but" to excuse taking one of the above steps, you are acting like a wonk instead of a visionary.
Name: Use some of history and change the name from Shed #2 to the Helen Corbitt Pavilion to honor one of Dallas' great ladies of food.