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Farmers' Market struggling to find downtown home for Tuesday market

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If you are a gardener, you know finding the right location for your garden is critical, and sometimes it's a bit difficult. Well, it appears that can be the case for finding the right location for your farmers’ market too.

The Downtown Lawrence Farmers' Market will be back for a second week at Lawrence City Hall, seeking a location for its Tuesday Farmers' Market. But finding a spot for the market is turning into as much of a chore as teaching my wife how to run the rototiller.

The market wants to move its Tuesday market — in case you missed it last week, the market has decided to discontinue its Thursday market — into the city-owned parking lot in the 800 block of New Hampshire Street. That parking lot is the home of the very popular Saturday Farmers’ Market.

But commissioners have balked at that idea. Commissioners have heard from some businesses in the area that the weekday market may take too many valuable parking spots on a Tuesday afternoon. In fact, the board for Downtown Lawrence Inc. now has sent a letter asking commissioners to reject the proposed Tuesday location.

Mayor Bob Schumm has tried to broker a deal for the Farmers’ Market to go into a little-used private parking lot that is near the requested city lot.

US Bank owns a small lot on the northwest corner of Ninth and Rhode Island streets that is sparsely used. City officials have checked and US Bank has an interest in allowing the lot to be used as a Farmers’ Market location. In fact, bank executives have expressed some genuine enthusiasm about the idea.

But that doesn’t appear to be the case with leaders of the Farmers’ Market. Avery Lominska, a board member for the market and a vendor at the Tuesday market, said it is critical for the weekday and Saturday markets to be in the same location. Otherwise, marketing the events becomes too burdensome.

“It is close to the location, but it is not the same location,” Lominska said.

Plus, Lominska said, the weekday market once was located on private property in west Lawrence, and they found that relationship to be more difficult than dealing with a public entity like the city.

Lominska is proposing that the city ask US Bank to open up its lot to public parking on Tuesday so that the downtown won’t lose any public parking spaces when the Farmers’ Market is in operation.

I’m not sure how well that idea will go over at City Hall. Commissioners will discuss the subject at their 6:35 p.m. meeting tonight at City Hall. I’ll report back when I learn of the location for the Tuesday Farmers’ Market.

In the meantime, I’m going to try to come up with a more simplified rototiller lesson.

Comments

irvan moore 1 year, 9 months ago

having the market at the same location both days makes sense, seasonal use of the area on tuesday afternoons is not a big hardship for downtown, they didn't seem to mind when it was in a parking lot a few blocks away

Kartarsh 1 year, 9 months ago

It actually is really obnoxious. As someone who works in the building attached to that lot, I can confirm that this lot is already packed by 8:00AM. It is already hard enough to find parking on the street. I'm not complaining about having to walk a block, because I already do that. But if the farmers market takes place on Tuesdays at the same time, it will be an incredible inconvenience (especially in bad weather). Not only that, but it will hurt the businesses surrounding (aside from restaurants), and interfere with our workdays. The surrounding area is already lacking parking, this will just add more people into the mix, and take up a significant amount of parking. I cannot imagine that enough people will even want to go shopping on a Tuesday morning/afternoon to make it worth it. People are usually working during this time!

Thinking_Out_Loud 1 year, 9 months ago

Agreed! The last thing downtown businesses need is more people downtown.

Adrienne Sanders 1 year, 9 months ago

The Tuesday market is not in the morning, it's from 4 to 6PM.

Kartarsh 1 year, 9 months ago

I didn't know it was from 4-6, but nevertheless, still interupts the workday. If not even more. People at work will need to leave work in the middle of the day to move their car. The whole thing just isn't practical - with all of the empty lots in Lawrence, I just don't see why they would need to make a fiasco in one of the most frequented parking lots, during the workday. I get that it is better for marketing, but if someone cares enough to go to the Farmers Market during the week, they will make the effort to find out where it is. Lawrence is only so big - the word will spread, or they can look online.

I understand wanting the Farmers Market to be downtown - but I think using the US Bank lot is significantly more ideal than using the city lot on New Hampshire. That way, even though there will be more people downtown, it wont also be taking up so many parking spots.

George_Braziller 1 year, 9 months ago

It might work in the future but not right now. With the old library parking lot torn up and the library in it's current temporary location, parking in the area is already in short supply. Sometimes I even have to use that lot because I don't have a driveway and there isn't any place to park on the street.

jhawkinsf 1 year, 9 months ago

South Park? Not too far away and a pleasant setting.

Naturephile 1 year, 9 months ago

To KRichards and jhawkinsf and anyone else with a suggestion for where to hold the Market.

The problem is not in finding a space.

The problem is a marketing (no pun intended) and advertising issue .

If you have the Farmers Market in the same location both days then you only have to use one address on fliers or brochures instead of having to clarify the location every time.

Attracting new customers for the market will be more successful if there is consistency.

jhawkinsf 1 year, 9 months ago

Well, if that's the case, then South Park for both. I always go to the Saturday farmer's market, never the Tuesday. That's because of work, etc. If I'm a typical shopper, we bring the kids and have more time on Saturdays. Combining a trip to the produce section and the playground is quite appealing to families. Also, I have to wonder if the little ones wanting a snack while playing combined with a vendor selling fresh peaches or an organic drink wouldn't be a naturally (pun intended) good combination.

Good luck, the farmer's market always has the best fruit and veggies.

somebodynew 1 year, 9 months ago

Here is an idea - Make up some inexpensive signs to put in the City lot directing people to the lot a block away. Just because you want ease of marketing does not mean everyone shoud just bow down to you and say, OK.

I enjoy the market, but you are "asking" to use a public parking lot, but it sure seems like you won't take ANY alternatives. That doesn't sound as much like a request as it does a demand.

patkindle 1 year, 9 months ago

i thought they wanted to change the name to mutt and strut

d_prowess 1 year, 9 months ago

I agree with others that just because the same location would make marketing easier is not a good enough reason alone to allow this. I have used that lot many times during the week because it is the only parking I could find at the time. So to loose it for a whole afternoon seems to be a poor idea for the rest of the downtown community. I also am not sure I agree that the public would be too dumb to figure out that the Tuesday market is in one spot and the Saturday market is in another. This isn't rocket science. If you want to go to the market, you will take the extra 5 seconds to decide which location for that day.

GravyTrainBandit 1 year, 9 months ago

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.

Cant_have_it_both_ways 1 year, 9 months ago

Put it somewhere that complies with the same sanitation requirements that other places who sell food are bound by. Hand wash stations, restrooms, dog free, and above all a place to hang your sales tax permit, your city liscense and your Kansas Department of Health permit. After all these things are in place, go right ahead. Anything short of this is screwing those who operate under state law as a business.

Catalano 1 year, 9 months ago

So you support their request to locate the Tuesday market at the same location as the Saturday market? Please say no. It would nearly kill me to think we agree on something!

gatekeeper 1 year, 9 months ago

Starting later this spring, there will be a farmers market in N. Lawrence, I believe at Pinwheel Farm on Saturdays. It's supposed to have items from many local farmers, not just Pinwheel.

bearded_gnome 1 year, 9 months ago

okay Chad! I missed that part of the long long long meeting! I don't see your update here!

what was decided at the meeting???

did they decide to locate the farmers' market at the former farmland location on the east edge of town? or at Merrill's house? or did they decide to locate it at "in front of the bank at 9th and Mass?" lol???
inquiring minds want to know!

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