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West Side Market shoppers, vendors get relief from heat after fans are fixed

Posted at 3:52 PM, Jul 06, 2018

Shoppers and vendors in the West Side Market will feel some relief from the heat.

Turns out, the rooftop exhaust fans haven’t been working and it took this latest heat wave to bring it to everyone’s attention.

That, plus this Facebook post from the vendor Kate’s Fish, posted below:

If anyone has shopped West Side Market recently then you know how HOT 🔥 the building has been, and how little the air moves within the main market hall.

This is why:

The exhaust fans: located on the roof, 8 of them (very large) are disconnected electrically and they have been for the last 5-ish years, ever since the roof was resealed or waterproofed.  These fans sit on the roof on both sides, they work, have new duct work connecting them to the building, but they are simply not hooked up.  We’ve been told for years that the City won’t send electricians because they’re too busy, and the market doesn’t have anyone on staff that can do the work. 

  All the vendors had to sign a media policy within their lease so they keep quiet, always in fear of not getting renewed on the 1 year lease.

We need to stand together and say enough is enough. Unbearable work/ shopping conditions for everyone simply should not be the norm in our one of a kind public market. Things need to change now.

We love the WSM, so do most of you- we just wish the City of CLE felt the same way.

In response, the city of Cleveland sent News 5 the following statement:

The West Side Market is an iconic facility, built more than 106 years ago. As with many historic structures, it requires ongoing maintenance and upgrades to align with today’s building standards. The City of Cleveland carefully oversees the facility and over the past 5 years has made more than $5.3 million in capital repairs. Repairs are made on a critical-first basis according to the allotted annual capital budget. Recent repairs include the installation of new boilers, new electrical systems, a new parking lot, roof repairs, new cooling systems and more. Although the business model of the market dictates it should be a self-sustaining facility, the City continues to assist vendors through rent relief, subsidies and other means of assistance.  
The market –built in 1912 – has never had, nor does it currently maintain a heating or air conditioning system. Instead the roof-top exhaust assists with air circulation. Current repairs to the system are extensive and require a detailed examination of the equipment. It extends beyond simply “hooking up” the equipment. City inspectors visited the market Thursday to assess the system and will return Friday to continue assessments and begin repairs. Also, the City is adjusting its internal process to electronically track needed repairs. We have already begun an assessment of all capital systems. Additionally, new working relationships with merchant leadership will help examine and ensure the functionality of these systems.
The West Side Market is intended to be a self-sustaining enterprise. However, the City can and will make every effort to assist vendors in making it a welcoming place for both merchants and visitors.

When News 5 visited on Friday afternoon, the fans had just been repaired and the market was packed with shoppers.

West Side Market Tenant’s Association President Jimmy Traynor said they have a good working relationship with the city and he is satisfied with the response to the fan issue.

“We just brought it to their attention last week and here it is, it’s done already,” Traynor said. “I’m sure the City wants to see this market succeed and keep succeeding, there’s no reason for it not to. We’ve been the jewel of the city for years.”