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Archive for Thursday, March 7, 2013

Editorial: Market move

Downtown Farmers’ Market organizers should be grateful for the City Commission’s willingness to accommodate their first choice for a Tuesday market location.

March 7, 2013

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Lawrence city commissioners decided Tuesday to go the extra mile to accommodate the popular Downtown Farmers’ Market.

A new location was being sought for the Tuesday market after new long-term parking was added in the market’s former home in the 1000 block of Vermont. Market organizers were adamant that the only appropriate location for the Tuesday market was in the same location as its Saturday market — the public parking lot on the east side of the 800 block of New Hampshire Street.

After considering many different options for the market, commissioners decided — over the objections of nearby business owners and the Downtown Lawrence Association — to bow to the market’s request to operate the Tuesday market at the same location as the Saturday market. Because the Tuesday market attracts fewer vendors, the expectation is that it will restrict its operation to the portion of the parking lot east of the alley, leaving the rest of the lot available to parking.

One of the locations the city was considering for the Tuesday market was a little-used parking lot owned by US Bank at the northwest corner of Ninth and Rhode Island streets. Market officials rejected that site, along with every other site suggested by the city, saying the Tuesday market had to be in the same location as the Saturday market to accommodate customers. Even if customers were looking for the market in the middle of the 800 block of Rhode Island, it seems likely they would find it a half-block to the south, but city commissioners decided to accede to the market organizers’ request.

The city also agreed to take responsibility for trying to negotiate a deal to use the US Bank lot for overflow parking on Tuesday afternoons when the city’s lot will be blocked off for the market. Never mind the confusion that could cause for people who may be allowed to park in the US Bank lot on Tuesday afternoons but not any other day.

The Downtown Farmers’ Market certainly is a popular attraction for Lawrence, drawing many local residents to both shop and socialize. The Tuesday market has always been significantly smaller than the Saturday market but perhaps, as organizers contend, having both markets at the same location will give a boost to the midweek event.

City commissioners certainly have done their best to work with the market organizers. Hopefully, moving the market won’t cause too much inconvenience for downtown merchants, employees and customers who normally park in the market’s new home. Also, it is hoped all parties realize the city’s action should not be viewed as guaranteeing the new location for many years. If it doesn’t work or if there are too many problems, city officials can and should make the necessary changes.

Comments

Lawrence Morgan 1 year, 1 month ago

What a biting, stinging editorial. I can't believe the Journal-World would publish such a piece, written in this way.

The Farmer's Market brings many people to downtown Lawrence, and they may do other shopping while they are there.

The Journal-World in this editorial shows its most corporate, anti-community side.

I definitely agree with lucyjj and windjammer. The City Commission should spend some money to build a farmer's market downtown. It makes much more sense than the millions they are spending to build a recreation center, without A VOTE.

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windjammer 1 year, 1 month ago

I think the City Commission should be grateful to the Farmers Market organizers for having a Farmers Market.

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lucyjj 1 year, 1 month ago

I sure wish we could find a permanent place for a sheltered farmers' market, similar to what can be found in Olympia, WA. It's a very popular place. I'm sure it pays for itself and vendors make money there. In the case of Olympia, it also brings people downtown to shop at the downtown stores or to visit the restaurants on Budd Bay. I like the idea of having the market to the east of downtown north of 9th St. Let's spend some development money in east Lawrence. I would be far more supportive of my tax dollars helping build a permanent farmers' market near downtown rather than some of the other projects we will be paying for in the coming few years at the far fringes of our city, far from most residents.

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Catalano 1 year, 1 month ago

The downtown merchants really failed to make their point. Honestly, they just sounded like a bunch of whiners. The Farmers Market representatives clearly and concisely made their argument. It was a no-brainer for the CC. I think "bow to their request" is pretty strong, suggestive language that is totally inaccurate.

But it was enlightening to know that so many "public" spaces are used for employee parking. It certainly sounded like there are so many employees using that lot with 10-hour parking passes paid for by their employers that even getting there at 8am on Tuesday would cause them to have to use these particular spaces.

I think it was generous of US Bank to offer up a reasonable resolution. And, if I ever need the services provided by the whiners, I will know where not to go.

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JustNoticed 1 year, 1 month ago

Ouch! Your poor tongue - so much biting.

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