City Hires Consultant To Recommend Change To West Side Market

(Cleveland) - The City of Cleveland has hired an internationally-known consultant to come up with ideas on how to improve things at the iconic West Side Market.

David K. O'Neil will review operations at the Market. He is described as an expert in the development of public markets and their local economies. The Mayor's office didn't say how much O'Neil will be paid, but City Council had already approved paying a consultant up to $137,000.

O'Neil has a relationship with leadership of the Market, saying, “I have a long relationship with the West Side Market going back to the 1980s. This has been a tough year for all markets, but Cleveland has the beginnings of some wonderful plans to help get through the difficulties and come out stronger and better for the future,” said O’Neil. “When we brought the International Public Market Conference to Cleveland in 2012, the Market was really the showcase of the event and market staff from all over the world were impressed with it.” 

O'Neil will be assisted by a local group, Food Access Raises Everyone, or FARE.

In the past year, business at the Market has been down due to the pandemic, but there were complaints from merchants before that. Some have left the Market, while others have complained about conditions.

The City already has done some planning. A new booth prototype will be unveiled next week. A contract to replace doors is in place, and work begins this month. Bids are being sought for electrical upgrades, and construction of a new meat preparation room. Bids will soon be sought for repairs to the clock tower. The mayor's office said in a written statement that the City will invest more than $5 million in the Market this year.

(Photo by Ken Robinson, WTAM)

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