Two years ago, the Farmers Market moved up to State Street for three pilot project weekends to test the location’s impact on the market, State Street, downtown businesses, and city services. The experiment was a success in some regards—residents and tourists loved the new location, most of the farmers liked being up on the street, city services were not significantly impacted. But some State Street businesses felt the market layout and sales eroded their Saturday business and profits. When the market asked to move back up to State Street for the 2018 season (May–October), displeased local business owners protested and the move was rejected.
This year the market has worked with the Montpelier Business Association, Montpelier Alive, the City Manager’s office, and State Street business owners to come up with a new layout that, hopefully, won’t negatively impact the businesses. Essentially the Farmers Market vendors will set up their stalls only along one side of State Street (on the side with TD Bank, Delish candy shop, and The Quirky Pet, etc.), back-to-back so they face both the sidewalk and the center of the street. The other side of State Street (Positive Pie, Woodbury Mountain Toys, etc.) will remain open for emergency vehicle access, although picnic tables will be placed along one section. In addition, the market will wind down into the top part of the Heney Lot at 60 State Street, which is its usual Saturday location.
Work on the new stretch of the Recreation Path has closed the bottom piece of that lot, restricting the market’s ability to fit all vendors onto the Heney Lot. The Farmers Market and the Montpelier Business Association will appear together before the Council to outline their proposal and seek approval to close State Street during their regular market hours. The city offices, including Public Works, Police, and Fire, have been briefed and have no objection to the plan. We will all continue to meet and fine-tune the details as the May opening of the Farmers Market approaches.
This text was pulled from City Council Agenda Item #19-025 on Jan. 24, 2019.