Farmers market one step closer to Constitution Square

Published 6:57 pm Monday, February 4, 2019

Danville staff and others met Friday to discuss the logistics of bringing the Boyle County Farmers Market back to Constitution Square Park, and two of those present for the meeting says it had a positive outcome.

Jennifer Kirchner, director of the local Convention & Visitors Bureau, said there are still several “nuts and bolts” to line out, but a tentative plan was discussed and agreed upon by all. Also in attendance was City Manager Ron Scott; Earl Coffey, municipal utility engineer; and Police Chief Tony Gray, along with farmers Russ Goodwin and Briana Fiestrizter.

“The real trick of the situation is — there’s a lot of ‘chicken or the egg’ problems,” Kirchner said. For example, she said the market doesn’t quite have the entirety of its roster signed up and committed yet.

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“Once they have that concrete and will be able to communicate with their members, we’ll end up with what will be a map,” Kirchner said.

Vendors will be able to use all of the parking spaces that go with Constitution Square, on Walnut Street and the spaces on the park’s side of Second Street.

“And they will close part of the turning lane on Second, so they can extend further up toward the corner of Main,” she said. Based on preliminary numbers of vendors, Kirchner said “they think they can fit, and it makes the city happy so they don’t have to close Second Street.”

Scott said the thought-out configuration of closing Second Street’s turning lane will still give farmers the ability to back their trailers in, parallel park and put their tables out.

He said the group should be able to use the space from opening day in May until September or October.

Kirchner said as the farmers market grows, they will need to figure out more logistics.

“I know there is so much excitement around having it downtown, but we will have more to figure out when it does expand. But, it’s a win-win situation, and I’m very optimistic after the meeting,” she said.

One main conflict discussed was weekend of the Great American Brass Band Festival, since the Little Red Wagon contest happens on Second Street, and the main parade lines up there, too. “Hopefully we can find a spot for the farmers to be that weekend. And if not, that’s OK, too.”

But, she feels there will be a workable solution.

Scott said he thinks they may be able to come up with a solution so the market can still be on-site at Constitution Square that weekend.

“It will take a bit of a different configuration there — we have to figure that out,” he said.

“The objective is to have consistent hours of operation, like any business, in order that people will know it will be there every weekend. We believe we have a plan where that’s accomplished,” he said. “That was not a certainty (before), given street closure procedures.”

And then there’s the business side of things, too — like rental agreements, liability insurance and permits. Kirchner said she will be in the process of contacting city and county officials to make sure all of it is completed correctly.

“Also, Russ (Goodwin) will discuss business permits with the farmers market members at the annual meeting,” she said.

Other events may conflict with the market being in Constitution Square, such as the example Police Chief Gray gave previously of the Jenny Carol 5K. “Those will be addressed further, involving Chief Gray, the event planners and the market.”

Kirchner said Scott will soon provide an update for the city commission, and she will update the Boyle County Fiscal Court. Both bodies meet next week.

“There are still more details to iron out as the start date draws nearer,” Kirchner said. “So this is still very much a work in progress — but moving full-steam ahead.”