The turnout for Wednesday night’s Farmers’ Market public input meeting was nearly nonexistent.
In other words, it seem as if there isn’t much interest in whether or not the Farmers’ Market extends its operations.
Of course, we know that’s not true. The problem is that attending public meetings is probably not very convenient for most people.
Here’s a briefer on what’s happening that should be easy to digest.
What’s the deal?
The Farmers’ Market currently operates from 6:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. They use the interior spaces of the square and on Saturdays, they also use the outside parking spaces on East Ave. It also operates a Thursday evening market in the Mill District at the corner of S. School and MLK Blvd.
The Farmers’ Market has asked for an extra hour on Saturday (until 2 p.m.) and has also asked to move its Thursday night Mill District market to the square in order to make it less confusing for customers and vendors.
So they want to close off the square every Thursday night?
No. They’ve only asked for the interior spaces of half the square (Block Ave. and Center St.) and there will be no closing the streets except, of course, on First Thursday Fayetteville nights, which already happens.
So what’s the problem?
It depends. According to city staff who have received a few calls, and according to comments we’ve read here on the Flyer, there are many opinions.
Like what? Will you list them?
- Some people love the idea of having the market in one location all week long. For example, a few comments here on the Flyer are very much in favor.
- Some people would prefer the market to stay in the Mill District. For example, one business owner in the Mill District has stated that having the market there helps to revitalize the area.
- Some people are worried about losing parking on the square on Thursday nights. For example, the owner of Tim’s Pizza has told the Mayor that he’d lose business on those evenings.
- Some of the gallery artists on the square are concerned that during the First Thursday events, there is a possibility that the art that the Farmers’ Market vendors bring to the square may be in competition with the art in the galleries.
OK, now what?
City staff is most likely going to recommend to the city council members that the market be allowed to extend their operations, but only on a trial basis (probably just for this season) to see how things work out.
So it’s happening?
We won’t know until Tuesday night when the city council votes. A recommendation by city staff is nothing more than a recommendation. The council has the final say.
So where do I fit in here?
If you have an opinion, go fill out the online comment form. The results of this form will be discussed with the council Tuesday night before the vote. You could also attend the council meeting and speak up in person. For what it’s worth, I did it once, but I’m terrible at public speaking. If you witnessed it, consider this my belated apology. The deadline is 5 p.m. Monday, April 5.