The rebuilding of Nassau’s Straw Market will begin in 2010, nine years after the market burned to the ground.

Since 2001, vendors have operated under a large, makeshift tent near the Pompey Museum on Bay Street.

The tent, which leaks when it rains, was repaired several times over the years, but conditions for both vendors and shoppers were far from comfortable.

The former administration proposed a three-story, $23 million structure that would have included restaurants, clubs and shops. That plan was shelved when the current party came into power at the end of 2007.

Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham's plan is to build a market specifically to accommodate the needs of vendors, according to published reports.

Minister of Public Works Neko Grant is expected to name the contractor and construction timeline this week.

The new $10 million market will be built on the site of the old straw market on Bay Street near the cruise ship pier.

The rebuilt market will be part of the ongoing downtown improvement project that includes the Nassau Harbor upgrade and expansion, a new mile-long pedestrian promenade and the repaving of Bay Street.

Nassau’s Straw Market was established in the 1940s when Bahamian women began making and selling baskets, bags and dolls from dried palm fronds and sisal leaves.

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