New Talk of Moving Farmer’s Market

Chrissy Hunt / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

City Council is again talking about moving the Farmer’s Market to a permanent location, Rachana Dixit writes in today’s Progress. It’s been setting up in the metered lot on Water St. for a little more than fifteen years now; before that it was in the Jefferson School parking lot, as I recall. On Monday night Council talked about making another push at finding some better digs for the weekly market, although that’s something that comes up every few years and never goes anywhere. Court Square is the perennial suggestion, both for historical accuracy and because it lends itself to a decent shopping experience today, but it’s not clear how vendors would be able to set up there with the ease that they do at the current location. At this point, it’s all just talk—here’s no movement that indicates that anything’s more likely to happen now than before.

22 Responses to “New Talk of Moving Farmer’s Market”

  • oniss says:

    Why not close off MARKET Street between the mall crossings? City Market could then spill into the park as well. Many vendors must have their vehicles at their stands because of their produce volume: use the street for them, use the park for folks who just set up a table & have a few boxes to carry.

  • HollowBoy says:

    Interesting idea, and it could work. Vendors could also set up on the Mall as well as in the park.
    I understand a problem now is that there are more vendors wanting to be at the Market than there are spaces for and that there is a waiting list. Its success has overwhelmed its location.
    Assuming they want to keep the Market Downtown(which most people seem to favor) this would avoid some of the problems that a Court Square location would have.

  • Victoria says:

    Orange has an indoor year-round market. I have no idea why we can’t do the same. At the very least have it partially under cover.

    The farmer’s market is a great addition to our area, and I’m sad that it’s seemingly given short shrift by the city. Their “solution” regarding the Wednesday market at Meade is less than ideal. So I hope Council can come up with an innovative and stable plan.

  • danpi says:

    Victoria- where would you put an indoor farmers market in the downtown area? I cannot thin of anyplace that could handle the space and staging needs.

    There is no question it has outgrown its current space. The parking lot of CHS maybe?

    As to closing off Market Street between the crossings, well, I suspect that the year round residents and business owners in that area would think that a poor idea.

  • Why not close off MARKET Street between the mall crossings?

    Because much of that space is just too steep (one of the complaints about the existing space). If you dropped a cherry tomato on 4th, it’d roll clear to 2nd. :)

  • blockhead says:

    one large under-utilized area near downtown that comes to mind is the ix complex

  • Victoria says:

    danpi– I can’t pretend to have the answer off-the-cuff, but wonder if something couldn’t be worked out somehow. Unfortunately, downtown has been losing parking lots, so there’s nothing else currently available there. The Jefferson School building on 4th St has been mentioned quite a few times.

    What it comes down to is that if the City seriously wants to make this happen, they’ll find a way. If they feel that a public gathering space of that nature is a priority, then it’ll take some money to do it. It can be argued that this project would be a good investment towards what makes Cville a livable place.

    Logistics (i.e. fast loading/unloading) are a big part of the equation. That makes Court Square an issue. It would be nice if the market weren’t hampered by rain etc. Electrical outlets for more vendors would be another plus. Benches for people to sit on, etc. Some of these are things we’d hoped might eventually happen at Meade Park, but moving the pool to the front took care of that.

  • Spenny says:

    Why couldn’t it spill down to the mall. Some trucks, maybe two per intersection could back down each side street to sell their wares. We are talking about 8 or 9 hours of inconvenience to the other mall merchants.

    The touristas don’t hit the mall until the afternoon anyway. Anybody local coming downtown on Saturday morning is coming to the market most likely.

    Why don’t they use the open acre that is the CPC lot adjacent the market? There are certainly enough parking spaces in the water street garage to handle the traffic.

  • danpi says:

    At one time they did have the wednesday farmers market on the mall. Not very well recieved if memory serves. Fights with other vendors paying for the space. Alleys blocked with trucks unloading and loading and some other stuff.

  • blockhead says:

    county office building on mcintire?

  • Apple says:

    Around Court Square would be terrific—they could follow the model in use in Madison, Wisconsin today. Vendors all around the square/across the park area. If there is spill-over, closing that little historical end of the street could work too—it’s not like there’s tons of traffic going down that way anymore…

  • county office building on mcintire?

    Only if the city wants the sales tax to go to the county. :)

    (I’ve actually never operated a business that needed to collect sales tax, so I’m not sure if that’s true.)

  • oniss says:

    It’s a particularly arcane question. Is land owned by the county that is physically located in the city subject to county or city tax? Albemarle pays no property tax to the city, but does their ownership of that parcel behave like an embassy? Is it sovereign county land located elsewhere? Can’t imagine it is, but anything is possible. The state would actually parse that out when they return the 1% sales tax to the correct locality.

  • the boss of me says:

    McIntire Park anyone? Lots of open space there. For now…

    Seeing it up close might make people think twice before they let a weak City Council give it away for a road we don’t need.

    re: Victoria’s comment “Unfortunately, downtown has been losing parking lots…” I’d have to argue that’s a very good thing. Where else would you rather have people build? I’m guessing not in places that are grass covered rather than asphalt covered.

  • Victoria says:

    The boss of me– good point, however I miss the days when you could easily hit the National bank lot at the midpoint on the Mall and walk east or west from there. In addition there were other great little lots and parking spots scattered everywhere. I always loved the C&O lot in particular!

    As far as building is concerned, I’m okay with what’s there now already. There are unoccupied spots on the Mall, and I see no reason to blight downtown with taller buildings. I realize that perhaps many people don’t think of 9-story buildings as blight, but I believe it will reduce the human scale and character of downtown. To me, vistas are very important to the Mall experience. They add a softened touch to the hard surfaces of the buildings.

    Newcomers, young people, and New Urbanists don’t have the sense of perspective about the Mall that some of us old-timers do. We know how far it’s come already, and feel that perhaps it’s come just about as far as it needs to. They look at the mall as something that needs to be fixed.

    Me? I like a Mall with businesses like the Victory Shoe store and Timberlakes. YMMV.

  • As a kid, when buying a pair of Chucks from Victory Shoes, I got to talking with the elderly sisters who ran the place. They informed me that when they opened it, they named it for the recent victory in “the great war.” World War II? No. World War I.

  • (For those who don’t know, Victory Shoes was next door to what’s now Mudhouse, in whatever is just to the left of Mudhouse. It closed down in…oh… Well, Mudhouse opened in the fall of 1995. So it would have closed down the prior spring, I guess, but no more than a year earlier.)

  • danpi says:

    That place had shows 50 years old in weird sizes. And if you had the patience to wait for the girls to get the shoes…10 minutes a pair….they had the off stuff.

  • Victoria says:

    They were very sweet ladies indeed. You could still get a rockin’ pair of late sixties/early seventies platform shoes there decades later!

    A friend (born and raised here) and I were discussing Cville today, and he mentioned, as I’ve heard so many people mention lately, that they’re just really tired of Charlottesville. The city seems to be more full of itself than ever before, and it has this odd awkardness. We’re growing, but we’re not necessarily getting much better. And we’re certainly losing a lot.

    So, in lieu of bolting for greener pastures, I’m holding onto some of the things that have made us good for a long time. The farmer’s market is one of those things.

  • Honoree says:

    My memory of the Victory Shoe Store is the smell of the store. It wasn’t a bad smell, just distinctive. Maybe it was the smell of the leather in the shoes coupled with the fact that in those days we didn’t have fancy ventilation systems. When I go downtown, I still point out to anyone who’s willing to listen where old landmark stores were located. I don’t visit the farmer’s market frequently, but I do hope if it is relocated again, it will be in a spot that makes it convenient to both foot and vehicle traffic. I can’t see that there is much of a chance that there will ever be a permanent structure dedicated to the market. I think existing rental spaces would be far to expensive, as would building a permanent location.

  • Holly says:

    If a beautiful pavillion could be built for the Farmer’s market in Scottsville, what in the world is wrong with the city leaders that they cannot come up with anything better than Court Square? It would be a night mare for the vendors to set up on the grass around the court house. This is coming from a person who regularly takes my show on the road to set up a booth. The vendors need to have the back of their trucks behind the booth.

  • candy says:

    Harrisonburg has a beautiful new open air pavilion for its farmer’s market. I believe partially funded with a grant from the USDA? I like that use of taxpayer money! Why can’t C’ville step up to the plate and provide a good home for our hard working farmers?

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