CLEVELAND - Shoppers, vendors and employees forced to bundle up at Cleveland's West Side Market are hoping a solution to cold temperatures inside the market will soon be found.
Cleveland Councilman Joe Cimperman believes he may have found an answer.
Cimperman told NewsChannel5 he believes he found the funding need to improve conditions at the market.
"I'm working with the city finance director to tap into a reserve 'rainy day fund' that must be kept in the market's budget," explained Cimperman. "It could provide $900,000, if approved in the city budget, [which] could be used to make critical upgrades, and improve heating at the West Side Market."
West Side Market shoppers like Brian Beuoy reports temperatures inside the market have dropped below 35 degrees, driving away business, and forcing customers and vendors to bundle up.
"People are wearing scarves and hats and winter gloves, just like you're going outside, said Beuoy. "I mean it's kind of ridiculous."
West Side Market vendors have been asking the City of Cleveland, which is now running the market, to install permanent heating. But the big question is who would be willing to pay the hundreds of thousands of dollars to get the job done?
"I think the city has an obligation to add heat without vendors having to pay more rent, I think so," said Minnie Zarefoss, a co-owner at Jim's Meats. "I think they should do something for us. We pay a lot of money to all the different fees that we have to own a stand in the market, so they need to do something for us."
Cimperman agrees and is hoping the funding for West Side Market improvements will be approved when the Cleveland city budget goes up for a vote at the beginning of April.
"We have a responsibility to people that are going there to feel that they can be there without shivering, without being cold, said Cimperman. That's not just for the customers, that's for the people who work there, who are city of Cleveland employees, that's for the vendors who are there."
NewsChannel5 also contacted the office of Cleveland Director of Public Works Michael Cox, hoping he'll look into the possibility of improving door insulation, and the positioning of steam heating registers at the market.
NewsChannel5 will continue to follow up on this developing story.
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