Thursday, May 18, 2006
By LIN RICE
ThisWeek Staff Writer
The Westerville Farmers Market will be uprooted from in front of City Hall this summer and moved to a new location where it can grow.
Instead of searching for parking on South State Street, market patrons will have more room at the new site, a parking lot at the northeast corner of North State and Home streets, said Julie Colley, the city's economic development coordinator.
"The space in front of City Hall wasn't the best location in terms of parking for those that wanted to visit the market," Colley said. "I think this corner provides a little more synergy, provides a little better grouping for the vendors."
Initially, only the first five parking spaces from the street on both sides of the lot's aisle will be blocked off for vendors to park their vehicles and carts. The western driveway on Home Street will be blocked to accommodate the market, according to information from the city's planning and development department.
If possible, vendors using tabletops only will be located in Rotary Park, at the southeast corner, according to Colley. Both sites are owned by the Church of the Messiah, which has given permission for their use.
Neither of the streets will be closed to traffic during the market, only the parking spaces taken up by vendors, according to Doug Winbigler, market coordinator. He said he hopes the new location will help bring more vendors and patrons to the farmers market.
"What we would like to eventually create is a real, thriving market -- a place people will want to make a point of stopping and seeing," he said. "We really want to have a strong, viable market on a regular basis."
The farmers market will be held every Wednesday, beginning June 7 and lasting through Labor Day. Hours are tentatively set for 3 to 7 p.m. Colley said the market could extend through September and October, if arrangements can be made to accommodate both it and the Church of the Messiah.
The new location will have room for a maximum of 12 vendors, five of whom have already committed to coming, Winbigler said. Others interested in reserving a space should call him at 614-891-6257, he said.
Only "home-grown, homemade" products will be permitted for sale, according to Colley.
One of the returning vendors is Jim Doran, of New Albany, who has been selling his wares at the farmers market in Westerville for about eight years. Doran said there are several reasons shoppers come to the farme
rs market, instead of using the relative convenience of a grocery store.
"I think they get a perception that our stuff is fresher," Doran said. "People also enjoy talking to someone who raises the stuff, the one-on-one between grower and customer."
Doran said he thinks the move is a good idea.
"I think this might give the market a little more exposure, and the better parking might increase the number of customers and vendors," he said.
For more information on the farmers market, call 614-901-6409.