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Businesses hoping to operate city market

Oct. 26, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

HUNTINGTON -- Local entities interested in ushering Central City Market into a new era were revealed Friday morning when sealed proposals to operate the facility were opened in Huntington City Hall.

Two locally owned and operated businesses submitted proposals to manage the market as part of a makeover, which includes finding a market operator to replace the Cabell County Community Services Organization, which will leave the facility on Nov. 1.

Ackenpucky, a custom interior design business that focuses on repurposed materials and local artists, submitted a proposal along with local food market The Wild Ramp.

The proposals will be reviewed by a subcommittee of the River to Rail Project, which is a multi-faceted approach of policing, code enforcement, economic development and community involvement now underway to improve a stagnant and crime-plagued area of the West End.

The proposals will be made public on Wednesday, Oct. 30, after they have been reviewed, said Huntington Mayor Steve Williams.

"We received inquiries from several different groups," Williams said. "That's an indication of what we're planning to do has not only received a lot of interest from people but that people are recognizing the potential for the West 14th Street Area and Central City Market."

The subcommittee set to review the plan consists of Charles Holley, Huntington's director of development and planning; Bre Shell, city planner; Brandi Jacobs-Jones, administration and finance director; Pete Gillespie, Huntington City Council member; and Norman Taylor, owner of Taylor's Iron and Metal and Duncan Box and Lumber Co. on 14th Street West.

Each subcommittee will score the proposals based on the organization's qualifications and experience, quality of the business plan, sensitivity to the community's history and assets, budget and feasibility of the proposal, and past performance. The subcommittee then will make a recommendation to Williams and the full River to Rail Committee. Huntington City Council will have final approval.

The chosen entity will not have to pay rent and will receive $37,200 annually from the state Department of Agriculture. All other funds for the operation and management of the facility, however, must be generated by the entity.

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