CHICAGO (CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — The city of Chicago has taken over operation of the city's famous Maxwell Street Market after the city terminated their $850,000 a year management contract with Jam Productions.
According to the Chicago Sun-Times, the city hopes to realize a cost-savings of 350,000 annually by managing the open air market place. This savings would include the salary of a full-time city employed manager as well as covering security and maintenance costs.
In recent years, the market had become a source of controversy for the city as vendors in the open-air market alleged that they were being and threatened with eviction and deportation from JAM. Special Events Director Megan McDonald told the Sun-Times that while the charges were "alarming", they were not the reason for the city's takeover.
Jam Production's Jerry Michelson categorically denied that vendors were harassed.
"Our employees never did that. That's not the way they operate," Mickelson told the Sun-Times. "We were following orders given to us by the city. I think we did an excellent job. It's a very tough job. It's a thankless job. You're dealing with so many vendors and trying to enforce the city's wishes."
Chicago city officials stated that they plan to be more lenient in their approach to vendors and said they plan to create more stages for musical events. The open-air Maxwell Street Market has long been a fixture in Chicago and is heralded as the birthplace of the Chicago Blues sound. – CelebrityAccess Staff Writers