Stormwater projects to force farmer’s market to move, but not just yet

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Farmers Market page 1 cutline
Angelle Turner of Idyllwood Farms bags up some farm-fresh produce at Thursday’s Farmers Market. The market’s future location was up for discussion at Tuesday night’s town council meeting.

By Marty Gordon

Christiansburg’s farmer’s market could be on the move. Ongoing stormwater projects will force the town to find a new site, but not as soon as first expected, the Christiansburg Town Council learned Tuesday night.

Road work that will force the market to move is being delayed until October of 2020, toward the end of the market’s season, the council was told.

Council members, including Henry Showalter, were adamant they wanted the market to stay in the downtown area. “That was idea when we started it, and I would like to see it stay in the downtown area,” Showalter said.

The councilman admitted, however, there have been some headaches associated with stormwater pipe work that now abuts the rear of the farmer’s market on Hickok Street. “But we have weathered the storm,” he said.

While the idea of moving the market is nothing new, it was head scratching for most at the governmental body’s regularly scheduled meeting. “We need to think about this long and hard before making at least what could be a temporary move,” Showalter said.

The town has repeatedly said they would like to see a permanent location for the market with the ongoing question of whether Hickok is the ideal choice. City officials had expected the market would have to move to a temporary location for up to a year, but

the delay in construction eases that concern.

A separate issue is the new directional signs that are due to be placed around town over the next few weeks. Those, according to the town’s public information office, have arrows and information pointing visitors and residents to the market’s current location.

Public Information Officer Melissa Demmitt pointed out that with the market housed at another location, each of those signs would need to have its panels replaced. That will cost the town money.

Showalter pushed the group to keep the market at is present location while looking into a study to determine what the future could hold for the town.

“I do believe we need to look at this more closely,” the councilman said, “because it will not be cheap to provide a permanent location. You are talking thousands of dollars we

(the town) would be investing, and we could still decide that Hickok Street is the right place to leave it.”

So for now, the farmer’s market will remain on Hickok Street though vendors of the present market have expressed a desire for another location. The Hickok Street drainage project will drastically affect the market, but instead of the near future, it will be delayed for as much as a year.

The new directional signs will point visitors toward the Hickok Street location.