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Eager Visitors, Vendors Flock to Redone Eastern Market

Historic market reopens after $22 million renovation

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Washington -- The Eastern Market that reopened Friday is not the same Eastern Market that was destroyed by fire more than two years ago.

The historic market now has modern heating and air conditioning systems, free Wi-Fi, and new restrooms and sprinklers.  It has ramps to make it accessible to the disabled.  The new site also includes areas for the arts and cultural events.

The new salmon-colored walls and large windows -- an attempt to re-create the look and feel of the original building when it opened in 1873 -- are another perk, according to some.  "They didn't change the character," Mary Jean Pajak, an architect who lives nearby, told The Washington Post. "I like the paint because before it was a dirty beige." 

Mayor Adrian M. Fenty cut the blue ribbon to officially open the market Friday morning, marking the end of a $22 million renovation.

The Capitol Hill market known for its food, flowers and flea markets was gutted by fire in April 2007.  Displaced vendors remained in business at a temporary facility across the street.

The city says all the vendors who were there before the fire have returned.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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