Oakland revitalizes city with night market

October 1, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
Oakland's Jack London Square was transformed Thursday night into a night market. With live music, local business owners are trying to showcase some big changes there. It's a new strategy that the city hopes will create new revenue and a new image.

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Avery Steur, 4, could hardly contain his excitement at the night market party in Oakland's Jack London Square. His mom, Cheryl Steuer, was pretty impressed too.

"It's actually really nice and the weather's perfect," said Cheryl.

But now that Cheryl, an Oakland native, is raising a family and has moved to Alameda. She worries about her hometown's image.

"I think it needs a little work. I feel terrible. I grew up here. I love this place," said Cheryl.

The developer's of the new Jack London Square say the city is changing. They decided to hold the night market to reintroduce residents to the waterfront and show off some of the $375 million worth of improvements, including a new restaurant that opened a month ago and the Jack London Market -- which will be similar to San Francisco's Ferry Building. It is scheduled to open in the spring.

"We're just doing a lot of different things to energize and activate the area and to really bring together a lot of spirit and comm. To bring good things to Oakland," said Linda Meyer, the marketing director.

The goal is to make it a regional destination for people all over the Bay Area to bring their out of town guests to Jack London Square, but first they have to get the word out to the locals.

"We were just talking about all the changes that they've done as far as the new marketplace. I didn't know it was built. I didn't even know this new restaurant was here," said George Henderson, from Oakland.

Planners eventually hope to see a hotel and conference center, which is something that would make many Oakland natives very proud.

"I'm hoping smart people will make the right decisions and we'll start getting more business in Oakland and the economy will start improving and people will start appreciating what we have here," said Cheryl.

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