By: Caroline Cunha
FIVE YEARS on and 22 million euros later, Faro has a new municipal market, hailed as the pride of the city and the best in Portugal.
President of Faro Câmara, José Apolinário opened the long awaited facility at midday on February 8, large crowds turned out for the occasion. Toca e Rufar, a drumming group put on a bombastic display and provided the drum roll for the unveiling of the plaque at the front entrance. With the ceremony complete, Apolinário took a tour and greeted the market traders.
At present, just the ground floor is operational, hosting 24 fruit and vegetable stalls, four butchers, 32 fishmongers, two stalls selling nuts, cereals and dried beans, three bakers, two clothing stands, one barber shop, two bric-a-brac stalls, three restaurants, four coffee shops and one newspaper shop. The first floor is scheduled to open by the end of the year and will host a gym, internet café and a Loja do Cidadão (a one-stop-shop where you can pay bills and deal with bureaucratic matters such as ID cards, passports, social security and business registration).
There are also two lower ground floors, one which already houses a ticket operated car park and another which will, in the future, be home to a supermarket. The surrounding area of the market has been refurbished to form a public square with benches, trees and walkways.
Based on the design of Barcelona’s municipal market, it is open everyday from 7am to 3pm. As well as offering a facility for grocery shopping, the aim is also to make it a meeting point and community venue by staging various activities and cultural events.
“This market is the pride of Faro and is, in my opinion, the best in Portugal. This should become the new centre of the city. Let’s transform this into a lively bustling centre. We want your help to make this the place to be, bring your friends and enjoy this new facility. Viva Faro!” said Apolinário.
It appears that the opening is a great relief for the câmara, market traders and local people. The project had been beset with problems over several years, attracting great controversy, not least because it was around five million euros over budget. Work on the market was suspended between February 2005 and January 2006 due to financial crisis. During his speech, Apolinário thanked the traders for their patience, praised the construction company and thanked numerous people, including his own office staff for their persistence and help in solving all the problems that had affected the project.
Apolinário spoke to The Resident: “It is going to be difficult to find a supermarket to take on the lease of the lower ground floor. We are launching a public tender next month, but we know it will be hard to find a company willing to take this space due to the fact that it will not be permitted to sell goods that are on sale in the market upstairs.”Celebrations continued after the opening. Faro Câmara distributed a ton-and-a-half of oranges to pupils at Faro primary schools on Friday and on Saturday, marching bands and folklore troupes performed in the streets of Faro.
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