BOSTON (CBS) – After years of waiting, Boston will finally have a market that features local farm goods, cooking lessons, and other attractions.

If you have ever been to the Reading Terminal Market in Philadelphia or the Pike Place Market in Seattle, you know what a draw a public market is for tourists and locals.

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We went to the ceremonial groundbreaking Thursday to find out what the city is really getting and why it took so long.

For many years, Boston residents have argued over plans for a permanent indoor market, while other cities have long since opened one.

“What took so long, and what lessons can we learn about moving faster,” I asked Governor Deval Patrick.

“There are a lot of different potential uses, competing uses of this space, so that had to be sorted out,” Patrick said.

Boston Public Market under construction (WBZ-TV)

Boston Public Market under construction (WBZ-TV)

When it finally opens, the public market will sit under a parking garage across from City Hall, offering less than 30,000 square feet of space.

By contrast, Seattle’s Pike Place Market has nearly 400,000 square feet overlooking Puget Sound.

Philadelphia’s Reading Terminal Market has 78,000 square feet in a beautifully restored old train station.

Even Milwaukee’s market has more space than Boston’s.

“Is this going to look rinky-dink to out of town visitors?” I asked Boston Mayor Marty Walsh.

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“It’s won’t look rinky-dink but I think we can certainly look to expand down the road,” Walsh said.

“Where?” I asked.

“We’ll find places, there’s plenty of development going on a little further down. See that big crane down there? There’s about a billion dollars worth of development down there,” Mayor Walsh responded.

“How about this dump behind you?” I said, referring to City Hall.

“It’d be great,” Walsh said smiling. “We could put a nice farmer’s market in, plenty of light in the middle of it because there’s nothing there.”

“And the fertilizer’s already there,” I said.

No doubt about it, the new market will be a plus for downtown Boston when it opens next summer, especially since Quincy Market has long since evolved into a pricey food court and gift shop.

But in its initial incarnation, it is unlikely to dazzle anyone who’s visited the expansive public markets many other cities enjoy.

Boston was the site of the country’s first marketplace back in colonial times.

Why have we lagged behind their national revival?

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Jon Keller