Home Education Search for Athens farmers market location continues

Search for Athens farmers market location continues

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When Ann Fugate and Maureen Burns-Hooker talk about the Athens Farmers Market, it becomes obvious it’s something they love and have dedicated their lives to. Right now, the Athens Farmers Market board members and Athens City Council members are in the beginning stages of coming up with a solution to give the farmers market a permanent home.

“We have been named one of the 10 best markets in the country, so now we think it is time to get serious,” Fugate said.

At the Oct. 28 city council meeting, Athens Farmers Market members presented their case as to why the more than 30-year-old market should have a permanent location. Its current location in the parking lot of the Market on State Street is set to move after a Texas Roadhouse chain takes its place. 

To find a new location, Fugate and Burns-Hooker need to fulfill five aspects, or the five P’s, in order to create a space for customers and sellers to flourish.

“We need permanent, paved, power, plumbing and potties,” Fugate said.

This is not the first time they have brought this issue up to city council.

“We’ve been having conversations about this for years now, with the mayor, with the council, but we aren’t stopping this time,” Fugate said.

The steps they are working on are identifying what committees are needed for financing and planning, finding funds and getting the support of the community and city government. 

“We are in the process of prioritizing our needs until we can get more funding,” Hooker said.

They are hoping, with the help of city money and city officials’ time, the city can help to form committees and find funding, but their chief concern is the new location for the market.

“Even if we just set up in an open field somewhere we run into even more problems,” Fugate said. “As a business we have certain health department requirements to fulfill and it would cost us an arm and a leg to get those requirements, like plumbing, out into a place like that.”

Currently city and farmers market officials are in email contact and hope to have committees together by the beginning of 2014.

“Our primary goal as we start the process is to find a location, above all, that’s what we need,” Fugate said.


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