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Farmers' Market struggling to find downtown home for Tuesday market
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.