Municipal Market vs. The Future

ALM Car Park Project OnL“What happened to the electoral pledges,” ask the stall holders in the Almuñécar Market, referring to the market and the closed car park underneath.

And it is not only the struggling businesses within the market itself, but all of the businesses around the market, who have few options other than to close down.

The electoral pledge referred to above is the one contained in a press release from the Partido Popular, which contained the following comment: “The PP foresees a municipal market which will become an economic and commercial lever for the town.”

The Mayor was quoted as saying, “One cannot perpetuate a historic botch job,” placing the blame on the opposition parties; the PA and PSOE.

Four months into the new legislature – following the four years of the previous administration under the same mayor – the market car park remains closed, inert… and deteriorating.

The image that accompanies this article projects the Mayor’s idea of how the market should look, after a complete demolition of the existing structure.

Gone would be the surrounding wall and the whole new set up would be much more open and accessible, with not only market stalls, but also ‘gastronomic activity’ which in normal language means, restaurants/bars; i.e., somewhere you can eat.

Sounds great but nothing has changed – silence reigns on its future now that the elections have been won.

The truth is that the Town Hall doesn’t have the funds – in fact, despite efforts to reduce the municipal debts, the town remains firmly in debt.

The question is, are municipal markets as we know them, a thing of the past. For example, how many shoppers buy their fish at Mercadona? Which butcher’s do they use?

Of course, the big difference is that the Market is a social focal point that Mercandona can never be.

Do you see the elderly residents sitting outside Mercandona, shooting the breeze, to use an Americanism? Does anybody haggle, or even attempt to, in Mercandona?

Housewives stand around and chat (what the hell – gossip!) in the Market, whilst buying products, whereas in Mercandona you’re sucked in and blown out as quickly as possible.

At the end of the day, ask the town’s bakeries how they are coping with competing with Mercadona‘s onsite panadería?

But whatever happens upstairs at the market, the area desperately needs the parking downstairs and one cannot help thinking that the root of the problem is a showdown between a Benavides’ car park lease holder and the PP administration keen to eradicate them and if the market sits collecting cockroaches in the meantime, well hard luck.

(News: Almunecar, Costa Tropical, Granada, Andalucia)

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