Demolition begins

Three buildings were demolished recently on Mercer Street as part of the revitalization program for downtown. A farmers market will take the place of the buildings that once sat on 538, 604, and 606 Mercer St.

PRINCETON — Three buildings have been taken down on Mercer Street to make way for further progress in the downtown revitalization project.

Demolition of the buildings, 538, 604, 606, has been set in the plans for the city for quite some time. Due to the trio of structures being dilapidated new plans for a farmer’s market have been set in their place.

“With the addition of the farmer’s market, that’ll hopefully be available by spring, it will essentially provide a very clean crisp new entrance to Mercer Street. It will bring additional opportunities for businesses downtown and foot traffic,” Mercer County Commissioner Greg Puckett said.

Now that the buildings are taken down the work on the farmers market can begin. Not only will this market increase business traction for local farmers but it will also draw more interest to Princeton’s downtown.

“Our next steps will be to get the final design completed and accepted by the Tailgate Farmers Market. After that, we will bid the project out for construction, hopefully, in the coming two or three months,” Princeton City Manager, Mike Webb, said.

Princeton’s farmers market is currently located in the Mercer County Technical and Education Center’s parking lot. Not only does this cause difficult travel but it is also a temporary location.

Rather than having solid structures, farmers rely on plastic canopies.

“Once construction is complete the Farmers Market community will have a first-class site to hold their tailgate market every Wednesday and Saturday along with indoor facilities to allow for year-round sales in the coming year,” Webb said.

According to Puckett, the market will feature a stall format so those selling produce will have the option to sell their goods out of the backs of trucks. This will also give them permanent sites to set up in each week.

Prior to the demolition, a mural on the side of one of the buildings stood as a musical remembrance. A mural of Blind Alfred Reed, a famous West Virginia musician, adorned the side of building 606. According to Puckett, this mural was never intended to be permanent.

“The murals were there because when it was a vacant lot it looked run down. It gave Princeton a negative appearance from the start of people driving across Thorn Street Bridge. The paint gave a vision of hope and cleanliness. It was definitely not a waste of time or money,” Puckett said.

With the, now demolished buildings, having fallen into such disrepair, the plan for the farmers market was one that needed community dedication from the beginning. With much planning and funding the city is closer to that goal.

“A special thanks needs to go out to the Hunnicutt Foundation for helping make this project a reality as well as the cooperative efforts of the Farmers Market and City officials. It’s really been a community effort and we are very close to seeing it come to full fruition,” Webb said.

Not only will the market add business opportunities it will also give residents the opportunity to indulge in healthier lifestyle choices.

“The more we can get people to take advantage of fruits and vegetables that’s a huge advantage,” Puckett said.

Contact Emily D. Coppola at ecoppola@bdtonline.com

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