Flint, MI (2006-2008)
Client: Uptown Reinvestment Corporation, with support from the Ruth Mott Foundation
• Placemaking plan
• Competitive review
• Five year business strategy
• Conceptual renovation plan
• Evolution into a market district
Flint has suffered from a severe economic and population decline over the past two decades. Despite this trend, the Flint Farmers Market, consisting of a year round indoor fresh food market and a seasonal farmer’s shed market, has remained a treasured community institution.
The historic year-round market traces its roots back to 1905 in downtown Flint. In 1940, the market moved to its present location on the Flint River just outside downtown and, in 2002, the city entered into a management agreement with Uptown Reinvestment Corporation to spearhead a revitalization effort.
In 2006, with the support of the Ruth Mott Foundation and local partners, PPS launched a Placemaking initiative in Flint to create more vital destinations downtown, including the Flint Farmers Market. Based on community workshops, PPS recommended ways that the market could better connect to the Flint River and could create a “community square” next to the market.
In Phase 2 of the project, PPS prepared a five year revitalization plan positioning the market as a catalyst for the larger district with more commercial and public uses. Goals identified included increasing sales and patronage — especially in the winter; incorporating green design practices; and developing partnerships within the community to address pressing issues such as health and economic development. PPS recommended increasing the number of vendors, specifically vendors with a more diverse array of food products. Other recommendations included altering the market’s design to improve its connection to the Flint River and the creation of an indoor gathering space.