Bricktown Needs a Public Market
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What has 9 acres, 9 million annual visitors, 100 farmers, 150 craftspeople, 300 commercial businesspeople, and 50 performers? Pike Place Market in Seattle.
All taxpayers in Oklahoma City are contributing to the success of Bricktown. There should be a place there for microenterprises. So far, the City Council has been less than friendly to such very small businesses. They've adopted a down-right snooty attitude, publicly worrying about discouraging "low class" operators (whoever they are), micro-managing the area, and charging exorbitant business license fees for street vendors ($1200 a year!!!!!).
Some of the pressure for this is apparently coming from existing Bricktown businesses, who also are publicly worrying about competition from tamale wagons and hot dog carts. Having got theirs with the help of the taxpayers, they'd like to close the doors and limit the economic opportunities of the area. That's sad.
Most world class cities have public marketplaces that are major economic assets to the community. Seattle's Pike Place Market is a good example. You can buy fresh fish, a huge variety of produce sold by the farmers who grew it, crafts and homemade jewelry, a hundred different "fast foods" prepared by independent operators, not franchise corporations. You can listen to various performers, including one guy who has a piano on wheels that he rolls up to the Market every day. (I know one piano player of some competence who has decided not to try this in Bricktown because of the attitude of the City Council.)
If you agree that Oklahoma City needs a public market that offers the quality and economic opportunity of the Pike Place Market in Seattle, now is a good time to let your city government know your feelings. Here's some names and addresses of people who need to hear from you. Write them a letter or send a fax today.
Kirk Humphreys, Mayor; Glen Deck, City Manager; Jim Couch, MAPS Coordinator, 200 N. Walker, OKC, 73102, fax 405-297-2570. Your city council person can be contacted at the same address. Call 297-2345 or 297-2535 to find out his or her name if you don't know it.