Keep market downtown
It is easy this time of year to see that the Capital City Farmers Market is so obviously a treasure. I can’t imagine trying to plan my week without the food, crafts and friends I find every single Saturday morning right in downtown Montpelier. We are fortunate.
Unfortunately, several years ago some of the market members voted to move the market up the hill to the Vermont College of Fine Arts green. Even though the decision was made with a quorum, a majority of the members were not at the meeting. A number of reasons were given by those who voted for the move, including, and I paraphrase, that they felt unwelcome in the downtown, they wanted long-term security and they felt the current location was not ideal. Planning appears to be continuing for a move at some point in the future.
Meanwhile my informal poll suggests the majority of market members are not in favor of moving but would rather find solutions to issues affecting a downtown location. For a variety of reasons, their voices seem to go unheard or at least unheeded.
While not all customers share my opinion, I, for one, want this amazing resource to stay downtown, either right where it is or somewhere else in the downtown area. The buzz that is generated by the market is good for the downtown — and vice versa. Traffic, parking and access all work pretty well downtown compared to what I think would happen up the hill.
Can the venue be improved? I’m sure it could, to the benefit of all, and I know many would work hard to have that happen. The mayor has certainly been outspoken in his support as have many of the downtown merchants and market customers. I believe we can work with the market members and their board to find solutions that will dramatically improve the venue — both summer and winter — and provide the market members the kind of long-term assurance of access to their customers that any good business desires.
If you shop at the market, please discuss these issues with your friends and with the market members you buy from. We need to have this be a conversation that involves all of us — the market members, downtown merchants and the customers. With all of us working together I’m confident we can find solutions that will not only keep the market downtown but make it work better than ever.
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