At the March Columbia Historic Market House committee meeting, Councilman Kelly Murphy announced that the Borough is actively seeking Columbia area residents who may want to serve on the board of the new Columbia Historic Market House Trust’s board of directors.
The Borough of Columbia is actively pursuing its plan to start a Market House management program that mirrors those of numerous market houses in the United States. This structure retains Borough ownership of the Market building but leasing it to a non-profit entity similar in intent and composition to Lancaster’s Central Market Trust. In December of 2010, Annapolis, MD restructured the operation of their historic market house using this model.
This concept is modeled on Lancaster’s Central Market structure, an advantage “of this arrangement is that it allows the (borough) to do what it is well designed to do (be a steward, invest in the long-term, preserve and provide for the social good) while opening the door to allow the private sector to do what it does well (focus on the customer, innovate, respond and compete).”
According to 2005 Central Market study, “This recommendation — the separation of ownership of real estate from the operation of the retail element — is common in the private-sector real estate development industry. In fact, in the private sector the most sophisticated developers and operators of retail centers typically have very extensive requirements and limits on the tenants that occupy their facilities, because they recognize that the quality of how those tenants operate is a critical part of the entire development’s long-term success. This model also is used by the most successful public markets for their stand holders. This … is a very common model that can be quite well-adapted to the needs of the (Columbia Market House).”
If you are have an interest in serving as a board member in the establishment and operation of this trust, please contact committee chair Kelly Murphy or any other Borough council member. Interested parties should have experience in business, management, historical, legal, and other such backgrounds, with the key component having a keen interest in the Market and in ensuring its future success. Applicants will be reviewed at the April Columbia Historic Market House committee meeting, with the intent of forwarding a list of five to seven names to Council for approval at the April Borough council meeting. Once approved, this group will form the initial membership of the Trust board, and will be charged with drafting their bylaws as well as other key management documents.