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Your turn: Market move raises concerns

SERIOUSLY? Who says "Farmers market? Not in my neighborhood!"?!
The Farmers Market is an economic engine in this town. They've been in business for 37 years and have done great things for our community (fiscally, nutritionally, agriculturally, socially, culturally). As Riling indicates, the Farmers Market attracts people downtown. People who shop the Market regularly support downtown businesses on market days. You'll note that ZERO retail businesses or restaurants complained about the move, and many wrote letters of support - likely recognizing the benefits the market brings to them.
This opinion article is written by someone who doesn't want to risk parking a space or two further from his favorite spot. He won't have to. There are 120+ spaces in that lot, and the lot is NEVER full. Studies showed at least 35 spots regularly open. The market requested only 18 - 3 hours/day, ONCE weekly, for 25 non-winter weeks. The city is also negotiating with US Bank to open up an additional 18-30 spots in their adjacent lot on market Tuesdays.
Regarding the long term: The market NEVER said they wouldn't move to the library. False info.
To all who are concerned about negative impacts on parking that the Tuesday market might brink, I say: buck up! The Farmers Market is a friendly neighbor - and walking an extra couple paces wouldn't hurt your health anyway. I hope you'll take advantage of the privilege of having fresh healthy food available in your Food Desert location this year. It IS only a one year agreement.
I do agree with Riling on one point though: It is unfortunate this decision-making process dragged on so long that there was pressure to make a decision fast. However, as was noted in a previous editorial on this subject, the City Commissioners DID do their best work that evening. They very thoughtfully considered all angles and had a thorough discussion of the subject before unanimously determining that the case for moving Tuesday's market to downtown was a strong one, and the right one to support.

March 12, 2013 at 6:46 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Farmers' Market struggling to find downtown home for Tuesday market

It costs more money to advertise and manage two sites and have restroom and hand-washing facilities at two sites. Customer convenience is another major factor for the argument to put the weekday market where the Saturday market is. People on Mass are more likely to walk a block to market, than two blocks or more. The City Commission made the right choice last night, to help strengthen the Lawrence Farmers Market. The Farmers Market is an economic engine in this town. They've been in business for 37 years and have done great things for our community (fiscally, nutritionally, agriculturally, socially, culturally). The least we can do is offer them 18 spaces, 3 afternoon hours a week, 25 non-winter weeks of the year. For anyone following actual statistics, on its busiest day that lot usually has a MINIMUM 25, but usually more than 35 spaces OPEN on any given day (accounting for all those long term parkers, who use up the rest of the 120+ spaces). I doubt anyone will struggle with parking at all, and if by chance they do have to park a space further to the East then they'll still have two major health benefits coming their way: 1) access to fresh, local foods and 2) the chance to walk a few more paces and improve their cardiovascular well-being. Lets face it people, we are an obese nation, nearly 1/3 of Kansas are obese and chronic diseases related to lack of healthy diet and exercise abound. If you STILL don't want to walk 10 feet further from your car to your desk chair, why don't you carpool?
I can't believe people are so scared to lose parking that they would be blinded to the innumerable benefits this decision brings. I hope they visit the market this year, get to know its vendors, and thank them for being the good neighbors that they are.
Horray for the market for clearly articulating their need for a 'cohesive identity', in order to make most efficient use of their resources. Their budget comes straight from vendor fees. Farmer vendors will have a hard enough time responding to drought this year. Farmers don't need increased stall fees to compensate for managing and promoting a new market site. That would sink the market.
Kudos to all those who actually followed this issue closely and showed up at City Hall to listen to the proposal from the Farmers Market staff and vendors themselves. High fives to those who voiced their support, or stood in solidarity. Lawrence's downtown is stronger for it.

March 6, 2013 at 9:26 a.m. ( | suggest removal )