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Raleigh Leaders Give Flea Market a Deadline

Posted April 10, 2007

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— City leaders decided Tuesday to give a troubled flea market 45 days to fix landscaping issues and to create a better relationship with a nearby neighborhood.

A committee will evaluate Watson Flea Market's progress on May 22.

As many as 15,000 people can be found at the flea market on Rock Quarry Road most weekends. Since January 2006, police have been called to the area more than 388 times, mostly for traffic issues.

In January, state investigators raided Watson's and seized $1 million worth of counterfeit goods. Last month, police arrested a man for shooting a vendor who had been found dead in his booth.

"We just think it's not the type of activity to expect if you're in the city of Raleigh," council member James West said during Tuesday's meeting.

"I know there's been some comments in the media about potentially shutting it down," said attorney Charles Marshall, who represented the flea market. "From a legal standpoint, I think it's very tricky. But more importantly, from a public policy standpoint, it might solve a trash problem and it might solve a parking problem, but it's also going to put at least 350 people out of work."

Marshall went on to say the market has hired additional officers to address parking issues and is working to clean up the property. He also said it is limiting DVD sales, which can be affiliated with counterfeiting.

"There's been more than a good-faith effort to make this work," Marshall said. "And I think the whole community of Raleigh, not just southeast Raleigh … I think the whole Raleigh area has a vested interest here in seeing all types of commerce and all types of shopping centers work."


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  • carolinaborn Apr 12, 2007

    Irishgreek dont make it a racial issue. i go there and im white and i see a whole lot of whites there. its not a racial issue its a law issue. "white flight"? give me a break!

  • Like that Apr 12, 2007

    They just want to confiscate that land so subdivisions or an arena can be built there. If the owner of the flea marked built a parking lot to accomodate the number of people, the city would find another avenue. Just like closing Dorothea Dix, it is not a matter of helping the citizens but it is a matter of the city fattening their pockets. There are plenty of overcrowded areas, I don't see them trying to shut down any of the places downtown that have traffic lined up down the street for almost a mile with vehicles trying to get in.

  • superman Apr 11, 2007

    I guess you must live in a shopping mall. Ten or fifteen cars parked on the street in front of my house blocks the street and my driveway. The street only has one lane for traffic. And usually it last Saturday and Sunday for most of the day. Usually two weekends a month- they are a public nusiance in residential neighborhoods. How u like to be blocked in your drive all weekend or blocked out if you able to get out? You end up having to park in down the street from you house inconveniencing them. Guess you never been to a yard sale in a residential neighborhood!

  • bronzegoddess40 Apr 11, 2007

    Who said that crack was being sold out there at the flea market and the man that was killed the assailant knew him, it is comments like that, that will cause a lot of problems. Stick to the truth. The only reason these things are being said is because hispanics and african americans frequent this particular flea market. They did not ruin it, poor management and unorganization ruined it. Some of you make it sound like it is the OK corral and you know it is not, you probably have never stepped foot out there to even see.

  • truthhertz Apr 11, 2007

    If they close it where can illegal aliens buy things and avoid sales tax? that means less money to send out of the USA.

  • Irishgreek Apr 11, 2007

    Watson's used to be a great place "back in the day" but now that the area has become more "diverse" its time to make some changes.
    >>Well said.Anytime you have a "diverse" setting,it will have problems.I don't understand exactly why some people can't walk,talk,and act properly,but they just don't.I use to love going,it was almost like a mini fair w/o the rides.Now days you people shoving you as if that spot belongs to them,acting as if they are wanting you to make eye to eye contact,so they can play the "eye roll "game.It's thug mentality at it's best.They can have it now,as I choose white flight.

  • east_raleigh Apr 11, 2007

    I agree that something needs to be done, but I'm not sure if shutting it down is the answer either. I think its time to be some stricter rules in place out there. Watson's used to be a great place "back in the day" but now that the area has become more "diverse" its time to make some changes. The city has wanted that land for a while and I see this as their way of getting what they finally want. If the flea market is drawing in 15,000 people on the weekends, that should mean that the owner is receiving quite a bit in booth rentals from all of the vendors which means that the city should be receiving some tax revenue. Why not work with the owner to make the site better so that he and city can both succeed and make some money.

  • grayfox2 Apr 10, 2007

    HONDAMAN/ Yard sales don't attract 15,000 people. Think about it.PS The number 15,000 came from an earlier WRAL story about the flea market.

  • superman Apr 10, 2007

    Sounds like to me-- that the worse issue they face is the traffic. Not violence and drug sales. There are traffic issues all over town when people have a neighborhood yard sale. People park on both sides of the street which limits traffic to one lane. If they close down the flea market-- they need an ordinance baning yard sales within the city limits. Fair is Fair--And I do believe I have heard of violence at the NC State Football games, the state fair and the flea market. Anywhere you have people u have the potential for violence.

  • Steve Crisp Apr 10, 2007

    If the number of police calls, particularly involving traffic issues, creates a condemnable public nuisance, then why not just shut down Lake Johnson. Maybe the city council could fill in the lake and put up a Wal-Mart there. And grey fox...there is no way of stopping murder between two people who have a beef. It is the stranger murders that cause panic.