A lot of work remains for this to happen, and Superintendent Damon Alvey told the Vermillion School Board at its Nov. 11 meeting that there is no certainty that the plan will ever become a reality.
The superintendent informed board members, however, that the Vermillion Farmers Market is contemplating the idea of moving the market from its present location at the Clay County Fairgrounds. The market is held there during the spring and summer months in the fairgrounds’ parking lot at the corner of High and Cherry Streets.
Farmers market organizers, after receiving a 2019 South Dakota Community Foundation grant, have been holding meetings with community partners to identify possible locations where the market may locate permanently.
An architect has also designed a structure that possibly could be part of the Farmer’s Market permanent home.
A location that has been identified as a possible good, permanent location is the northwest corner of Barstow Park. This piece of land is owned by the Vermillion School District.
“The Farmers Market has been searching for a new location in the community for long-term,” Alvey said. “They’ve got a great place right now at the fairgrounds, but despite that, they are looking at whether they are going to grow, they have other limitations there, so they’ve been talking with our board members about a piece of Barstow Park where they could put a shelter up and be able to use as a location for future Farmers Markets.”
He presented three architect’s renderings of facilities that could one day be constructed at that new location.
“There are some very ambitious, very artistic renderings from an architect,” Alvey said. “Did you have any questions that you need me to ask? I guess at this point all that they (the Farmers Market officials) are asking is would you like them to continue to have that discussion?
“This is not something that they would be looking to do anywhere in the near future because they have several funding things that they have to complete,” he said. “They just to want to know if any of those renderings cause you any alarm or any kind of curiosity or questions that you wanted answers to.”
Alvey said he would bring any concerns that school board members have to the Farmers Market board.
“If you are okay at this point, we will tell them to continue their work and to continue to keep them involved,” he said.
The Vermillion Farmers Market promotes locally grown produce, grain, dairy and other food items and local artisan crafts by providing opportunities for local producers and local craftspeople to sell to local consumers. It provides for the education of the public about agricultural products and concerns, and on the benefits of locally grown and organic foods.
During spring and summer months, the market is held at the Clay County Fairgrounds on Thursday afternoons and at Ratingen Platz in downtown Vermillion on Saturday mornings.
During the winter months, the market is available on Saturday mornings in the Extension Building at the Clay County Fairgrounds.
In response to a question, Alvey said the new facility that most likely would be constructed at a new location is one that resembles a picnic shelter. It would be built in the northwest corner of Barstow Park, across the street from the parking lot of the Sturdevant’s auto parts store.
“The ones (architect’s drawings) are very esthetically beautiful but they all have some limitations in terms of what they could be used for,” Alvey said. “Honestly, this is something that needs to serve the community simply without having a gigantic investment. They (the Farmers Market board) are seeking the school board’s approval to continue to have their discussions and they’ll continue to keep us in the loop if they find something that ever gets some traction.”
Whatever may be constructed in the future would also be available for public use.
“The Parks and Rec Department and the city are part of this community as well, and Parks and Rec, of course, has some concerns,” the superintendent said. “Parks and Rec wants something that is esthetic but can also withstand use and won’t be a hindrance to police and law enforcement by having blind spots and other things.
“An open canopy or open concept is encouraged, but also it would be something that picnickers could use, kids could use, our school, if we ended going down there for some sort of outdoor campus lesson, could use it,” Alvey said. “People could also be able to rent that shelter on weekends for family events just like they do for the current shelters.”
The Farmers Market Board is currently seeking community feedback on the idea of moving the market from the Clay County Fairgrounds to a new, permanent location sometime in the future. People may fill out an online survey at www.surveymonkey.com/r/D9HVBJ2.
People may also fill out paper surveys at the Edith B. Siegrist Vermillion Public Library or at Vermillion City Hall until Feb. 14. Paper surveys will also be available at the Feb. 15 winter market held in the Extension Building at the Clay County Fairgrounds.