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Archive for Monday, February 25, 2013

Farmers’ Market seeking new location for weekday market, dropping Thursday market

February 25, 2013

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Parking may soon make way for produce in a portion of downtown Lawrence.

Lawrence city commissioners on Tuesday will review a request to allow the Downtown Lawrence Farmers’ Market to use a portion of a city parking lot in the 800 block of New Hampshire Street to host its weekday market.

But the request has changed from what was proposed a month ago. Leaders with the Farmers’ Market now have decided to cancel their Thursday markets and instead focus on markets on only Tuesdays and Saturdays.

They also have dropped their request to set approximately a dozen booths in a landscaped area of the city parking lot.

“We are trying to do what we can to increase our chances of getting this approved,” said Avery Lominska, a board member for the Farmers’ Market.

Market organizers said they are badly in need of a new location for their weekday market. The proposal would move the weekday market to the same parking lot that hosts the organization’s Saturday farmers’ market.

The market is seeking a new location for its weekday market because the city parking lot in the 1000 block of Vermont, which has hosted the weekday market for a number of years, has become more crowded with the development of the Treanor Architects office building adjacent to the lot.

The new request would place the weekday market in the same parking lot that hosts the popular Saturday Farmers' Market, which is not proposed to change. Lominska said operating the weekday and Saturday markets out of the same location has become critical to the not-for-profit organization.

“It simplifies our marketing,” Lominska said. “We can promote one location pretty well, but it gets difficult for us to promote two locations.”

City commissioners will have to decide whether they think the market is worth the number of parking spaces that it will occupy. Depending on where the market is placed in the city parking lot, which is a long-term lot along the east side of New Hampshire and the west side of Rhode Island streets, anywhere from 19 to 24 parking spaces could be lost on market days.

The option of using the landscaped area of the parking lot for booths would take only a handful of parking spaces, but City Clerk Jonathan Douglass said concerns about the location had arisen.

The option would have required the removal of a hedge that serves as a screen between the parking lot and homes along Rhode Island Street. Parks and Recreation leaders also worried about the health of the other plants and trees in the landscaped area.

But Douglass said he also has heard concerns from area businesses about the amount of parking the new proposal would take.

City staff members have compiled a list of other locations where the weekday Farmers’ Market could be held. They include the city-owned lot just north of the former Carnegie Library at Ninth and Vermont; the city lot at the southeast corner of Sixth and Massachusetts; the city lot along the 600 block of Rhode Island Street, just south of the Riverfront Parking Garage; and the city lot at Second and Locust streets in North Lawrence.

Lominska said the market’s board doesn’t consider any of those locations appealing because those sites would continue to keep the weekday and weekend markets in separate locations.

City commissioners — as of Monday afternoon — were still scheduled to meet at 6:35 p.m. Tuesday, but city officials acknowledged weather conditions could cause the meeting to be altered.

Comments

Richard Heckler 1 year, 10 months ago

What about the lot at 11th and Mass Street? or in South Park or at the corner of 9th and Mass Street in from of the bank.

Visibility......is key.

Beware developers want to take over all the parking lots so think about space not on a lot necessarily. The New Hampshire/Rhode Island parking lot is among those on the hit list.

developers want this space for free in addition to millions in tax incentives I presume.

peartree 1 year, 10 months ago

I think South Park wouldn't work because vehicles need to be able to drive in; the grass would be torn up, curbs would crumble. I think it would be really cool if a couple of blocks on Mass were blocked off. It would bring foot traffic to the doorsteps of many businesses.

Richard Heckler 1 year, 10 months ago

Actually none of Mass would necessarily need to be blocked off. Perhaps the city would consider reserving a few metered spots for a few hours thus allowing vendors to set up on the public walkway.

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