[caption id="attachment_19305" align="alignright" width="314" caption="Concept scheme of the Sonoma MarketHall"][/caption]

SANTA ROSA -- Members of the Sonoma County Fair board will hold a public meeting March 16 on plans to create a permanent public market year-round at the fairgrounds.

The 70,000-square-foot privately funded and developed facility, proposed for the corner of Bennett Valley and Brookwood roads, will be discussed at the 7 p.m. meeting at the Jockey Club. Input from neighbors and local interested parties is welcomed.

Mark Rivers, the developer, will be there to present the project and answer questions.

In a letter to the neighbors, Fair Manager Tawny Tesconi said the Sonoma MarketHall is expected to be a centerpiece of commerce and community in both planning and daily operations.

She said building will be completed using local labor and materials.

They expect to have more than 100 vendors creating 100 permanent jobs featuring wine, food and other products. The market was inspired by Pike’s Place Market in Seattle, Wash.

Each tenant will have stalls ranging from 200 to 2,000 square feet.

According to Mr. Rivers, the MarketHall will be open March 1 to Jan. 2 of each year, closing for the remainder of January and February. The market will be open six days a week, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., closed on Mondays, he said.

The anticipated opening date is April of 2011.

Ms. Tesconi said the fair board will be asked to review the project and to approve a directive to move forward at its board meeting on March 18.

Mr. Rivers, the chief executive officer of Brix, is a former adviser to Harrod’s Department Store in London on its Food Hall and consulted on the Port of Oakland’s Jack London Square, which would be the West Coast’s largest public market. He also has worked with the leadership of the Port of San Francisco, the home to the Ferry Building Marketplace.