Mad City Bazaar to take over Philosopher’s Grove

Mad City Bazaar to take over Philosopher’s Grove

A pilot program expected to start next week includes bringing the Mad City Bazaar to Philosopher’s Grove as part of the city’s latest effort to change the area at the “Top of State” Street.

Todd Grisby walks through Philosopher’s Grove every day, greeting his friends as he passes by.

“Just friendly kind of family, you know what I’m saying?” Grisby said.

Grisby admits the park isn’t void of problems. The gathering area is known for illegal activity, and just a week ago, a man was punched there while intoxicated and didn’t know who did it.

That said, Grisby does not agree with the city’s plans to move the problems out of Philosopher’s Grove.

“It’s going to interrupt the rhythm, you know, people are probably going to disperse,” Grisby said.

The Downtown Business Improvement District, led by Mary Carbine, is heading up the latest programs to change the “Top of State.”

“It’s really the crossroads where State Street meets the Capitol Square, and for so many visitors downtown and for folks who live downtown, this is the crossroads of downtown,” Carbine said.

The Mad City Bazaar, a pop-up flea market, is ready to bring as many as 20 vendors to the area, selling arts and crafts as well as vintage items.

“What we’ve found is that when there are events and activities here, like the farmer’s market or Art Fair on the Square and other great events, is the folks who really don’t want to behave positively find someplace on their own,” Carbine said.

Carbine said the organization will begin setting up the bizarre every other Thursday, and then offer products every Thursday in September. The program will be evaluated after the summer to see if it should serve a more permanent role downtown.

In addition to the bazaar, Carbine said there is also a bicycle resource fair and other events planned at Philosopher’s Grove this summer. The organization hired a new event coordinator who will oversee the events.

“We hope all of the people who are usually downtown will be part of the events,” Carbine said. “We’re just really interested in activating with positive behavior in the areas and all folks who want to behave positively are welcome.”