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For these Cleveland residents, the closest market is 10 miles away

Posted at 6:00 AM, Feb 21, 2017

Broken promises, or just minor setbacks, Cleveland city leaders proposed a plan to reopen the East Side Market two years ago, but so far, neighbors have seen no progress. 

The vacant property on East 105th and Saint Clair has gone untouched for years. Construction crews have just now started to clean things out this month. But Councilman Kevin Conwell guarantees the market comeback is going to happen.

"I've never seen anything up, anything posted, nobody working," said Jennifer Griffin, a resident of Ward 9. 

Like her, some residents say they're in the dark, while others, like Velda Peyton, wait patiently.

"I think the good thing especially for this neighborhood because we have to go sometimes so far for a good store," she said.

The closest market is the Save-A-Lot on Superior Avenue — nearly 10 miles away. Making the area what's called a food desert.

"Residents need fresh fruits and vegetables...this is a huge priority for the community," said Councilman Conwell.

First, they said the renovated East Side Market, offering fresh fruits and veggies, a coffee shop and even a community room, would open spring of 2016.

Then they said the end of last year.

Still, there are stacks of debris and tons of empty space.

"We're in the beginning phase, executing on the project," Councilman Conwell said.

So what's the deal?

"The nature of projects is that they have glitches," he said.

Those glitches, he claims, are anywhere from troubles with finding neighborhood construction workers to a $500,000 loss of state funds, to scheduling setbacks.

"The person that made the announcement did not look at the construction schedule. When you make an announcement, you should have the construction schedule in front of you," the councilman said.

But now he says things are up and moving, and he plans to stay on top of it.

"Milestones are very, very important to hit on the project. As council member, I'm on top of that, I'm pushing it, I have to," he said.

Now the projected grand opening is set for this summer, in June or July. The East Side Market has sat vacant since 2007.