CHARLOTTE, Mich. — The Beach Market in downtown Charlotte has been around for nearly one hundred years and recently went through renovations.
Beach Market is owned by The Friends of Beach Market, a partnership between the Lions Club and the Charlotte Rotary Club.
It's had a number of owners over the years and has played different roles in the community. It was used for ice skating, Christmas tree sales and people could rent it out to for yard sales.
"We wanted to return it to its traditional role as a farmers market and a gathering place for folks here downtown," said Bryan Myrkle, a board member for Friends of Beach Market. "And we also wanted to make some improvements that would make it a little friendlier to use when there's inclement weather."
Myrkle said the building was in a dilapidated state.
"Almost a complete rebuild from top to bottom. There are new bathrooms that have been added. There weren't bathrooms before. And this was an L-shaped two-sided structure, and now you can see we've enclosed it on all four sides with two new walls," Myrkle said. "The center pavilion-style roof is all new. The skylight is all new. This is a totally new space that also respects the historic structure that was here originally."
The group invested more than $500,000 dollars in the structure. Renovations started this past winter, but it took five years to raise funds.
About half of the money came from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. They also received a grant from the Capitol Region Community Foundation and local donors pitched in.
The Charlotte Artisans and Farmers Market will operate out of this structure starting in May. Myrkle said they're also making it available for businesses and residents to use for special events.
Larry Starkweheher, a community member, says he has rented out the Beach Market three or four times in the last couple of years. He said he's happy with the renovations and will rent the space again.
"It was just run down some because it hadn't had a lot of maintenance over the years," said Starkweheher. But what a transformation. I mean now even if it rains, people can hold events here. And I think it will be a great place."
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