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Norton Asks for Federal Funds to Rebuild Market

D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D) has requested a $131,000 earmark for Eastern Market in the fiscal 2008 financial services appropriations bill — her first step in fulfilling her goal to secure funds for rebuilding the historic market.

Allowed only $231,000 in earmarks for Washington, D.C., under this bill, Norton decided to set aside most of it for Eastern Market “in light of the recent fire that has sharply reduced business for vendors and neighboring businesses alike,” according to a statement.

After the South Hall of the Capitol Hill market was gutted in an April 30 fire, Norton said she would look into securing federal funds from the appropriations bill and from the Economic Development Administration, a federal agency that stimulates growth in economically depressed areas. Norton was unavailable for comment Friday on her latest step.

However, she said the city would take on most of the $20 million to $30 million price tag of rebuilding the market. So far, city officials have begun work on the temporary structure for the inside merchants, drafted plans for the rebuilding of Eastern Market and started the process of setting aside the millions needed for the project.

Meanwhile, many of the inside merchants of the South Hall have started selling meats and cheeses on Seventh Street Southeast. Many use refrigeration and supplies furnished by the Capitol Hill Community Foundation, which has collected more than $360,000 in donations to help the merchants and their employees.

— Emily Yehle

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