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Farmers market belongs at Constitution Square

EDITORIAL

The Advocate-Messenger

Boyle County Fiscal Court deserves to be commended for its vote in favor of letting the local farmers market locate at Constitution Square Park.

It’s a complete 180 from the previous fiscal court, which voted to deny access to the farmers market for a handful of silly reasons such as possible damage to grass in March 2016. We called magistrates out back then for their “cranky old man ‘get off my lawn'” attitude; so we’re obviously happy to see the 2019 fiscal court reverse course.

We strongly encourage Danville City Commission to follow the fiscal court’s lead and approve a closure of Second Street next to the park on Saturdays for the market. We were sad to see the plan stall momentarily Monday night, when City Manager Ron Scott said he hadn’t previously been alerted to the idea to close Second Street and would have to look into allowing it.

Hopefully, Danville can get its t’s and i’s crossed and dotted and move forward quickly with what should be a no-brainer. If it can, Danville and Boyle County will have the best location for a farmers market in the state.

For those who don’t know, Constitution Square is the birthplace of Kentucky’s statehood. It is where the drafters of Kentucky’s first Constitution met and hashed out specifics during constitutional conventions. Today, it’s a gorgeous green space with old trees and historical buildings.

Such a beautiful space deserves to be used in good ways and enjoyed by as many people as possible. We can’t imagine a better, more appropriate way to do that than with a farmers market.

Kentucky is rooted in farming, which was the major economic driver and our way of life for most of the Bluegrass State’s history. While farming is still a huge piece of our economy, our blossoming tourism industry is now arguably just as important.

A farmers market at Constitution Square can be a celebration of our commonwealth’s history, as well as a unique feature for attracting tourism dollars to downtown Danville.

Visitors from town, county and out-of-county alike would be able to buy local produce, fresh baked goods and more. Then, they could enjoy a stroll through the Governor’s Circle or take a shady break at a picnic table. The visitors center is right there, too; and there are many downtown restaurants and shops within easy walking distance.

It’s easy to see how summer Saturdays could become quite a busy time in downtown Danville.

Looking to the future, it’s already a goal of economic development leaders to play into Danville’s strength of having a beautiful, historic downtown in the middle of an urban core. Danville has a unique combination of urban and rural quality-of-life benefits, which could help it attract many of tomorrow’s workers if the city and county play their cards right.

A farmers market at Constitution Square would boost farmers market sales; benefit the elusive goal of “walkability;” bring more dollars to downtown businesses; and could even help grow our workforce in the future. It’s a win-win-win-win scenario. We’re glad it’s about to become a reality.