Folks over at Central Market like to call this a "once-in-a-lifetime" or a "once-in-a-generation" project.
But when it comes to the type of cleaning done at the iconic structure recently, it's more like a once-every-125-years job, said Casi Babinchak, the market's chief operations officer.
As part of the $1.9 million project under way since April to modernize and preserve Central Market, workers have scrubbed places that hadn't been scrubbed in a very, very long time.
Today, the market's skylight windows and ceiling beams are dirt-free, possibly for the first time since 1888.
"I can't imagine it's been done like this since the market was built," Babinchak said. "I don't know how they would have done it."
If it seems a bit brighter in Central Market these days, thank the window washers.
January conclusion: Little improvements like that will add up to a major upgrade for the popular York City shopping hub, Babinchak said. The project, which is being funded by state and federal grants, is on track to finish in January.
So far, most of the work has been done behind the scenes. Laborers have been on the clock during closed-market hours, working as late as midnight to get the job done.
The work is about 65 percent complete, Babinchak said this week.
During the first half of the project, much of the time was spent figuring out how to accomplish project goals and troubleshoot any issues that came up.
"We're through all of that," Babinchak said. "Now we're really rolling."
Customers might notice the new fans that hang from the ceiling. Soon, there will be new lighting throughout the market, including over the seating area near the West Philadelphia Street entrance.
Other upgrades: The market is also ditching its ancient 60-meter electricity system for a more efficient one that will allow market management to divvy up a single electric bill fairly among its vendors.
Under the current system, some vendors deal directly with the utility company and others are billed through the market.
"It's been kind of cut and pasted and finagled over the years," Babinchak said. "And it shows."
A new, efficient heating system has also been installed, replacing an old boiler. Workers also found and removed an encapsulated oil tank that must have done the job many years ago, Babinchak said.
New wooden doors will replicate the market's original doors and offer accessibility compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Folks will be able to push a button for automatic opening, Babinchak said.
A soon-to-be-installed fire-suppression sprinkler system will make the market less vulnerable to fires.
Babinchak said she's expecting the buzz about Central Market to pick up soon.
"Very quickly, people are going to see a visual change that they haven't seen up to this point," she said.
-- Erin James may also be reached at ejame firstname.lastname@example.org.