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Downtown Dunedin gets a shot in the arm

Published Oct. 12, 2005

What else good can happen to downtown Dunedin?

While other downtowns are withering, Dunedin has a beautiful waterfront, a pedestrian-friendly Main Street, a Historical Museum, and the Pinellas Trail bringing all kinds of people straight into a downtown that has enthusiastically geared up to serve the needs of the walkers and bicyclists.

Now, downtown Dunedin also has Michele Niesen.

Niesen is the former director of the successful Ybor City Farmers Market. Dunedin is giving her a chance to bring similar success to the downtown Dunedin farmers market.

The downtown market has been tried twice before without much success. There were problems lining up vendors, and the market didn't attract enough customers for the vendors who showed up.

Enter Niesen, who may be young, but has the energy and enthusiasm needed for the job. She knows the community because she grew up there, and she knows downtown because she runs a marketing company there. She also has some fresh ideas about what sort of market might succeed.

Niesen proposed something more than the usual vendors peddling fresh vegetables. It was her idea to call this market the Green Market _ playing on the current infatuation with anything "green" _ and to give it a natural/environmental theme. Vendors will sell organically grown produce, exotic plants, spices, juices and crafts made from natural or recycled products.

The Green Market opened last Saturday to the sound of live reggae music. It will be open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. every Saturday on the east side of Railroad Avenue in downtown Dunedin.

Niesen has been given a three-month trial by the Dunedin City Commission. We congratulate city commissioners for recognizing her potential and for being willing to give a downtown market another try.

If downtowns are to be successfully revived, they must offer something that the suburbs and the shopping malls don't. On Saturdays in Dunedin, the Green Market may be just the thing.