In mid-2021, the City of Wheeling reinstated the Centre Market Commission to assist in efforts to preserve, improve, and invigorate the historic shopping area. It has been over a decade since there has been a commission solely dedicated to Centre Market. It currently includes community members as well as Centre Market business owners. We checked in with the commission to learn more about their vision and goals for the market’s future.
Ward 3 Councilwoman, Rosemary Ketchum, began conversations in the fall of 2020 with city staff and business owners to reimagine what the group would look like. She has also contacted Smart Growth America in an effort to assess how the commission can best serve Centre Market.
Smart Growth America is a national urban planning and design organization that helps cities create safer and more economically viable street environments. “They provided incredible insight and support through their recommendations which include creating a parking inventory, connecting the trail to the market, stronger brand identity, encouraging more public art, etc,” said Ketchum. You can learn more about Smart Growth America here.
Early 20th Century postcard of Centre Market - Ohio County Public Library Archives.
Brooke Price hit the ground running as the Centre Market Manager in March 2022. She has been working towards a unified Centre Market while organizing operations and keeping the market beautiful. “I had mentioned in a meeting that I really wanted to spruce up the patio outside. The commission took it and ran with it,” said Price. “We have maintenance and janitorial staff that are busy nonstop throughout the day, so the commission is really helpful in organizing and planning things that cannot be done during normal business hours.” Price also expressed gratitude for the diversity of experience the commission brings together.
The Centre Market Commission has a list of short and long-term goals. Ongoing short-term goals include, but are not limited to deep cleaning the area, plumbing projects, ensuring proper trash can placements, better signage, a solid set of operating hours, and managing the 5-way intersection. ”These are tangible things that can happen very quickly. And then there’s some things that will take time,” said Jodi Coleman-Carder from Coleman’s Fish Market. She is the fourth generation in the family to carry on the business’s legacy.
Subscribe to Weelunk
Long-term goals focus on continuing to preserve buildings, targeting and marketing to specific customers and making Centre Market a destination for dining, shopping and entertainment. “That’s really my goal. A community hub where people can come down here and they know there’s stuff going on. There’s going to be something to do,” said Price.
Discussing what she personally loves about Centre Market, Ketchum remarked, “I really enjoy the diversity in shops and restaurants! There is truly something for everyone in our Centre Market. My hope for a 5-year outlook is for the Upper and Lower market houses to undergo much-needed renovations in order to better serve existing businesses and accommodate new ones.” Currently, there is only one storefront available for rent within the Upper Market House.
Due to the variety of experience, connections, opinions and business savvy from the commission members along with Brook Price as the passionate, dedicated Centre Market Manager, the vision is coming to life. “And so we can continue to work on multiple things at once and I think that will make it really strong, faster,” said Coleman-Carder, “I know we all want it tomorrow, but we understand it’s also in five, ten years from now we want to see growth and change. Change that can last a lifetime, you know?”
The Wheeling Centre Market Commission consists of Michael Biela, Jodi Coleman-Carder, Amy Cordy, Betsy Helmick, Bob Peckenpaugh, Valerie Piko, Rebecca Stahl and Rosemary Ketchum as the City Council Representative. They look forward to honoring Centre Market’s historical significance while building a vibrant, thriving future.You can stay up to date with the happenings at Wheeling’s Centre Market on their Facebook page or visit www.centremarket.org. If you are interested in renting a vacant space inside the market or helping build the Centre Market Community, you can email Brooke Price at firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Crin Joy is originally from the Pittsburgh, PA area. She obtained a degree in psychology from Wheeling Jesuit University. She has spent 16 years of her adult life in Wheeling and loves putting her psychology and social work background into everything from operational and marketing consulting, event organizing and anything else that helps Wheeling continue to grow. When not working on one of her many projects, she’s out and about in town or simply relaxing at home with her boyfriend and her fur kids.