A proposal to create a new location for the weekday Lawrence Farmers Market will get more study at City Hall.
Commissioners at a Thursday morning meeting agreed to have staff members study an idea to move the Tuesday and Thursday markets to a spot along the 800 block of Rhode Island Street.
Board members of the Lawrence Farmers Market are asking for the change because they want a location that is closer to their Saturday market, which is held in the long-term city parking lot in the 800 block of New Hampshire street.
During the weekdays, that lot is heavily used by downtown employees, so market organizers are proposing the market set up on a landscaped, city right-of-way just east of the lot. The area proposed essentially is the greenspace between the city parking lot and Rhode Island Street, which runs along the eastern edge of the parking lot.
East Lawrence resident K.T. Walsh asked commissioners to look closely at any plan that would require landscaping such as trees or bushes to be removed from the area. She said those landscape features play an important role in screening nearby homes from headlights of vehicles in the parking lot.
City staff members said the proposal does not call for any of the trees in the area to be removed. City Clerk Jonathan Douglass said there had been some discussion of removing a row of bushes from the area, but he said it now appears that won’t be needed to accommodate the approximately dozen vendors the market hopes to host.
The Lawrence Farmers Market has hosted its Tuesday market in a city parking lot on Vermont Street for several years. But that lot has become more heavily used by motorists recently with the opening of the new Treanor Architects headquarters building, which is adjacent to the lot.
The Farmers Market hosted its Thursday market at 1121 Wakarusa Drive in West Lawrence, but leaders of the market said in a letter to the city that it needed to consolidate its number of locations for marketing purposes.
“Moving the weekday markets to 800 Rhode Island is the simplest, cheapest and most effective way to improve our marketing, reduce administrative costs and serve a broader customer base,” market board members wrote in the letter.
Commissioners expect to receive a staff report on the proposed market location in the next few weeks.
In other news, commissioners:
• Unanimously agreed to apply for about $160,000 in grant funding to convert three vehicles in the city’s public works fleet over to compressed natural gas. The grant also would allow the city to install two, small fueling stations at the city’s property at 11th and Haskell.
The commission, which normally meets on Tuesday evenings, had a special Thursday morning meeting primarily to pay bills and take care of other year-end matters. Commissioner Aron Cromwell was absent from the meeting.