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‘Save the Flea Market’ at Eastern Market Petition Garners More Than 200 Backers

by Sean Meehan — September 2, 2015 at 11:45 am 4 Comments

Eastern Market flea market (Photo via Facebook/The Flea Market at Eastern Market)Hundreds of people have signed a petition opposing the D.C. government’s planned takeover of the weekend flea markets at Eastern Market.

The flea markets on the 300 block of 7th Street SE are set to transfer management at the end of September from private companies to the D.C. Department of General Services, which manages the rest of Eastern Market.

DGS announced the move at the end of July, saying that allowing Diverse Markets Management and Washington Arts, Antiques, Crafts & Collectible Associates to continue managing the flea markets could affect the District’s bond rating. In a letter delivered to vendors in August, DGS explained that all current vendors will be allowed to remain at the flea market and that customers will not notice any changes, Capitol Hill Corner reported.

But Mike Berman, the manager of the Sunday flea market, said the management shift will hurt vendors and customers. Berman launched a “Save the Flea Market” campaign in response to the planned shift, a campaign that now includes the petition on Change.org.

“We firmly believe that DGS cannot adequately manage the flea market, would not attempt to accommodate everyone, would create havoc for the adjacent and participating businesses and would negatively affect the public and neighborhood supporters of the market,” a letter accompanying the online petition says.

The petition, which is addressed to Mayor Muriel Bowser and Ward 6 Councilman Charles Allen, has garnered more than 200 signatures since it was created Tuesday morning.

Photo via Facebook/The Flea Market at Eastern Market

  • steve849

    Can we just do away with the flea market? How about a used book exchange instead?

    • Mallygut

      That is literally the worst idea ever.

  • Neighbor

    You have to wonder why a private business is arguing so hard to continue to get private and exclusive use of public space at below-market rental rates. Actually, you don’t have to wonder that hard. It’s obvious.

    Tell the private operators they can either find private space or negotiate non-exclusive market-rate rent usage of the public space. Soon enough they’ll get their negotiated-in-the-PUD subsidized usage of the private plaza and street at the new Hine development.

  • another neighbor

    To Neighbor, I can only say that it is obvious that private operators resist an agency of their own government walking into their business and assume not only the management but the profits. An agency that never originated any idea, never assumed any risk, never sweat a drop during the decades of work that made the weekend market what it is. It is obvious that the community rally around Diverse Market Management, who originated not only the flea market, but all other market activities to Sundays thirty years ago. All activities – that includes the Market South Hall and the Farmer’s Line.

    If its true that the private operators are not paying market rent, and that is not actually been established, then raise their rents. Do not steal their business, they earned it.

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