In the midst of renovation efforts to Baltimore's public markets, plans to upgrade the nation's oldest operating market are being pushed to the forefront.
"When people come here, they ask you about Lexington Market because it was so well known, and is known throughout the country, so just to be able to maintain it, I think is great, but to enhance it, I think will be even a greater experience for people who are visiting our city, as well as for the citizens of Baltimore," Mayor Catherine Pugh said at Wednesday's board of estimates meeting.
Lexington Market is getting a facelift.
In what's now a ripple effect of market renovations, state and local dollars are going into the initial process -- helping downsize the space, but bring more people to the area.
"The current plan is to create a smaller structure on the south parking lot, an opened Lexington Street, and then retain the east market building," Kirby Fowler, president of Baltimore's Downtown Partnership, said.
After a recent stretch of bad publicity from rats to failing infrastructure, city leaders call it one of the cores of Baltimore -- and a restructured, reinvigorated Lexington Market could mean millions.
"We really believe that re-imagined real estate can unite cities and of all of the projects that we've had the opportunity to work on, this is the one that's going to prove that the most. So we're thrilled to roll up our sleeves. This has been a great process so far," Thibault Manekin, part of Seawall Development - the firm partnering in the development process, said.
A pivot in the right direction for the city says, Mayor Pugh.
"I think that when people see the results of the work that will take place, that it will be a positive change for Baltimore," she said.
Plans are to break ground on the Lexington Market in 2019.