The Broad Street Market (Partially) Opened
by Tara Leo Auchey
8.24.12 Update: Released by the City of Harrisburg:
Based upon the health code compliance inspection conducted by the City of Harrisburg on August 23, 2012 at 1:30 p.m., The Broad Street Market, located at 1233 North Third Street, Harrisburg, PA 17102, has been deemed fit to continue operation.
The following three vendors may not reopen until the codes issues are corrected: Tep’s Seafood, Capitol Box Lunch, and the Golden Gate.
The Broad Street Market, Brick Building (closest to 6th Street), is still deemed unfit as an eating establishment from the August 22, 2012 9:00 a.m. inspection and will not be re-inspected until the codes violations provided to the management are corrected.
8.22.12 Update: “The Broad Street Market Still Closed….for another weekend?”
Today was the day on which the City anticipated re-opening the closed Broad Street Market. Shut-down since Thursday evening because of a failed health inspection due to “pest” issues, the goal was to reopen the two Market buildings by today, Wednesday. However, as reported WHTM 27, the reinspection of the Market failed to meet standards for re-opening. More extermination needed after the initial bout. Thus, the City has no choice but to fail its own City property again. It looks like we could perhaps have the Stone Building open by the weekend, but not the other building. See 27′s article: “Broad Street Market will not reopen Wednesday”
8.17.12: “The Broad Street Market Closed for the Weekend.”
Vector problems, i.e the type associated with insects and rodents, is a common challenge of any food business. The Broad Street Market is no different. In fact, if anything, the Broad Street Market has a greater challenge because it is a kind of open air market with several vendors peddling a variety of goods and products.
So, yes, it is undoubtedly routine to have to deal with cockroaches and mice, especially in the middle of a hot, humid summer. It is undoubtedly routine to have to shut down for a few days to bring in an extra dose of extermination to deal with the issues that regular bouts of spray and traps don’t address.
On Thursday, such a closing was announced. For an anticipated six days, the Market will go out of business while the vector violations are taken care of.
To close the Broad Street Market over the weekend? And not only that, but to announce it on Thursday night? The weekend is when the Market makes its money. Fridays and Saturdays at Market are a menagerie of people—regulars, visitors, first-timers. The weekend is when people en masse grab lunch and shop for the week. Vendors at the Broad Street Market pretty much plan their entire inventory—-produce picked & stocked, meats butchered, baked goods baked, and specialities prepped—for Friday and Saturday. A Thursday warning (the Market was opened both Wednesday and Thursday) gives vendors little if any time to pull back on working to get ready for the weekend.
The goods are gotten, stocked, and ready. Yet no place to go.
Jeff Hummer, President of Hummer Meats, a long-time Broad Street Market stand, wrote on the Penn Live public comments section: “The timing of the closure could not have been worse, with fresh product ready for sale and co-workers lined up for regular hours of work. This problem speaks to how out of touch the city is with the day to day operations of the market.”
The Broad Street Market is a confusing entanglement of ownership and management. It is a City of Harrisburg asset. The City of Harrisburg owns the land and the buildings. Then there is a Broad Street Market Corporation which is contracted with the City to oversee the Market. The Broad Street Market Corporation Board sees that a manager is hired to oversee the running of the Market. If there are any profits from the enterprise, then the Corporation and the City share the profits. (***now this tangle used to be more complicated a few years ago when, the Historic Harrisburg Association had a contract with the City, but that’s another webbed story***).
Now, if there are maintenance issues, property tasks, or capital projects, those fall to the City of Harrisburg. The Corporation runs the business of the Market. The City takes care of the buildings.
Thus, the overall, general management of the Broad Street Market has notoriously been a convoluted, rocky go, with disconnect continually found between the Corporation’s (own unstable) management and the City’s (own slacking) maintenance. This is most abundantly clear not just with this latest ill-timed closing of the Market, but also with the overhaul of the heating/air conditioning system that’s been a two year wait. Like so many other entities in the City, the Broad Street Market has fallen victim to the confusion surrounding the City’s Department of Building & Housing’s implementation of the HUD CDBG grants. Once the Market gets its money, it can upgrade its air system, and perhaps that will help control the pests.
While the Broad Street Market is literally a City asset, it is also one of the City’s most important public attractions and resources. It is a gem of our beleaguered city. It’s a place where the City is most like a city encompassing the diversity, energy, and dynamism that is characteristic of a thriving urban center. It’s the place that brings together people, cultures, and variety. It’s a place that will be greatly missed this weekend.