The West Bank Business Association is determined to put a longtime vacant lot in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood to good use.
The first “West Bank World Market” will be held Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at 427 Cedar Ave.
The market will host up to 30 local vendors selling artwork, jewelry, used bikes, rugs, clothing, CDs and other products.
A youth group from the Brian Coyle Community Center will also be selling candy bars, water, soda and ice cream at the market.
Two acoustic bands will perform from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The WBBA has leased the vacant lot through October, and will host the market on the second Saturday of each month through the end of their lease.
The WBBA’s goal is to provide a marketing opportunity for local businesses, which are able to rent a booth free of cost, said Lisa Hammer, director at the WBBA.
Hammer said she has been working with the city of Minneapolis for more than a year to get permission to host the markets, since the city currently prohibits flea markets.
“It was a long process,” Hammer said. “We were asking to do something positive and the city doesn’t have a specific statute or ordinance that allows this type of use.”
The lot is the former site of Dania Hall , a community gathering space and historic site that was destroyed by a fire in 2000.
Nearly $1 million in Neighborhood Revitalization Program funds used for renovations of Dania Hall were lost when the 113-year-old building burned down.
Hammer said she hopes to shed the negative stigma associated with the lot, and put it to good use.
“We want this to be a positive thing,” Hammer said. “And the reference to Dania Hall is negative.”
Hammer said she hopes the site will eventually be developed permanently for community use.
“We’d like a positive venue that increases the awareness, publicity and traffic to the West Bank,” Hammer said.
Hammer said the market will be moved inside Palmers Bar if it rains, or that the opening of the market may be delayed until the next Saturday.
Hammer said the WBBA also hopes to use the lot for weekly activities like badminton tournaments, movies and music.