FENTON STREET MARKET: EVOLVING PLACEMAKING IN SILVER SPRING
Recently the highly successful Fenton Street Market announced they will be moving on from Silver Spring's Veterans Plaza next year. As Megan Moriarty, Owner/Operator of the FSM put it in their announcement, "We moved down from Fenton Village [to Veterans Plaza] when the Civic Building opened to help activate the new public space. And it worked! FSM helped turn a hardscape plaza into a community gathering place. Now, the Plaza is hopping all the time and it is time for FSM to take its model to new places in Silver Spring." (FSM is one of the State of Maryland few "B" Corporation, a private company with a stated public purpose.)
The pressure for activities other than Fenton Street Market on Veterans Plaza on Saturdays has increased dramatically the last couple of years. Additionally, the Fenton Street Market's commitment to Silver Spring has not changed - if anything it has increased. They will now be able to more effectively activate other parts of Silver Spring with their innovative approach to community building through local commerce.
The Fenton Street Market on Veterans Plaza served a great purpose during the start-up phase of this amazing public space. They were instrumental in demonstrating that Veterans Plaza could become a gathering place for people from all walks of life. The demand for the space on Saturdays - particularly over the last couple of years - has put a continuing stress on the commitment to the Fenton Street Market to use the space on almost every Spring / Summer / Fall Saturday. Being relieved of that commitment will provide us the opportunity to satisfy a growing demand from other community initiatives that are seeking to use the space - and it will provide the FSM the opportunity to do new ventures.
Silver Spring's downtown is changing dramatically. The renovated Citiplace - now renamed Ellsworth Place - is bringing not only new stores like Michael's, Ross, T.J. Maxx and various new restaurants, but it will also be home to the entertainment venue Dave and Busters. This new level of activity, coupled with the increasing success of Peterson Co.'s Downtown Silver Spring, The Fillmore, and the growing number of restaurants in the area, are bringing additional new life to the core of downtown Silver Spring. Plus, the FSM is not going far! Indeed, we are working with them to spread the success of the core of Silver Spring to other areas throughout downtown.
Veterans Plaza has been so successful that there are more groups wanting to access Veterans Plaza than there are non-winter Sundays in the year. So, freeing up Saturdays will ensure that even more groups are satisfied and can participate in 'building community' in Silver Spring.
We are thankful to the Fenton Street Market for their amazing entrepreneur leadership and their community commitment to make Veterans Plaza a truly successful public realm. We look forward to continuing working with them as they help us spread this success to other areas of downtown Silver Spring and beyond.