Survey seeks answer: should downtown’s 2nd Street Market expand?

The 2nd Street Market is looking at expanding its hours and making other changes at a time when the facility is operating at capacity and attendance has grown.

Five Rivers MetroParks, which runs the public market, is surveying local residents to find out what they like about the market, how they use it and what improvements they would like to see.

>> 2nd Street Market celebrates 15 years with 15 of its original vendors

Survey takers are asked what additional days and hours they would visit the market if it was open, and what products and vendors are most important to their patronage. MetroParks’ this year completed a comprehensive master plan that recommends growing the market’s footprint.

Redevelopment in the Webster Station area, including new townhouses a block from the market and new apartments at the nearby Water Street District, may help provide a dependable customer base for the facility’s sellers.

“The whole point of the survey is to measure attitude and interest of our patrons,” said Bill Tschirhart, chief of administration with Five Rivers MetroParks. “Everything begins and ends with community input.”

>> People can access the survey at:

Between 2013 and 2014, attendance at the 2nd Street Market grew 4 percent to 384,8000. It inched up in 2015.

The inside of the market is out of room and cannot accept new vendors. The market’s outdoor spaces are also completely filled.

Growth at the 2nd Street Market makes this a good time to identify ways it can better serve patrons, said Tschirhart.

“We have been researching this for a number of years … we recognize there’s a significant increase in residential use in this area,” he said. “We are trying to figure out what the public wants.”

MetroParks is collecting feedback through a survey that asks people what products they would add at the market and how much they spend and how they get there.

Other questions are about the market’s parking facilities, prices, location and customer experience.

One of the survey’s main focus areas is on extending market hours.

Survey-takers are asked what days and hours they would visit the market if it were open, and they are queried about their shopping habits, including what vendors and products they value most.

MetroParks is asking the public about expanding the market following its completion of a 10-year master plan that will be a blueprint for guiding park priorities and programming.

The master plan “was very much a community-driven process, and we heard from a variety of people throughout the county about what’s important to them,” Becky Benná, executive director of Five Rivers MetroParks, said earlier this year.

The consultant who worked on the plan recommended that MetroParks invest $875,000 to $1.25 million to add 3,500 to 5,000 square feet to the market. The market is about 16,000 square feet, with vendors occupying about half the space.

Right now, the market is open Thursday and Friday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The market has operated three days a week since moving to its home at Second and Webster streets in 2001.

But MetroParks has asked if people would visit the market during the work week, including afternoons and evenings.

The survey asks if people would patronize the market Sunday mornings and afternoons.

The expansion discussion is timely because that part of Dayton is transforming.

The Water Street District has created 215 new apartments a short walk from the MetroParks’ facility, and the developer is in the process of converting the Delco building next to Fifth Third Field into 133 apartments. Charles Simms Development is building two dozen town homes a stone’s throw from the property.

BarryStaff Inc. built a headquarters about two blocks from the market and the nearby Tech Town development will soon be 90 percent occupied.

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