AP NEWS

Planning revived for Dickinson public market

May 16, 2019

A proposed Dickinson public market envisioned as a regional destination is back in the spotlight after a revived focus on the effort, which had stalled after Hurricane Harvey and changes in leadership at the city’s economic development corporation.

After receiving public input through a recent forum, social media and comment cards, Dickinson Economic Development Corp. officials in April set a six-month timetable that includes drafting strategic and business plans and assembling a board of advisers. Also on the timetable are marks for completion of architect plans and launching a website.

“Now we have a better understanding of what the community wants,” said Alison Benton, the corporation’s interim director. “I think initially, there was some uncertainty about what direction the market was going to go; so now we’re back on track.

“We’re developing a feasibility report and then a business plan built on what the community wants. When that’s done, it will go to the (EDC) board for their input.”

The development would go on four acres owned by the economic development corporation off Texas 3 across from the Dickinson Bayou boat ramp.

Public comment gained through through a forum, social media and comment cards showed strong community support for the proposed open-air market along with concerns about ensuring that traffic needs are addressed and that the project would be adequately managed.

Residents’ suggestions for what the market should contain include a produce market, craft classes, shops, a community garden and an outdoor area for live music.

“We worked with focus groups — those are made up of people who have served on the advisory committee for the project in the past,” Benton said. “We’re also working with the (Dickinson Chamber of Commerce), businesses and potential vendors — the people who might want to have space in the public market, as well as (Holy Trinity Episcopal Church) next door.

“We want to make sure we’re being good neighbors.”

The project retains the initial concept for an open-air market and public gathering place with spaces for vendors to sell things like art, food, textiles and produce.

“None of those concepts have changed,” Benton said, “but we wanted to talk with the community to make sure they felt like this is a place that belongs to them. We would like for this to serve as the heart of the city as well as an economic generator.”

An initial feasibility study on the proposal was conducted in 2016, and the market was envisioned as a $12 million project. The Public Market Development consulting firm, which is no longer involved in the project, determined that Dickinson would be a good site for a market.

Plans and the timeline for the public market project are here.