Sunday, August 23, 2009

Farmer's Market Kerfuffle

Here's a letter we emailed to all 6 Las Cruces city counsellors, plus the mayor and city manager. Someday I'll have to write an overview of the Farmer's Market situation.

Aug. 23, 2009

We are writing to you regarding the proposal to move Farmer’s Market into a couple of tents on the parking lot south of El Paso Electric.

There are a number of problems with this proposal, the main one being the impracticality of shoehorning the 3 blocks of Farmer’s Market into a ½ block area. This could perhaps be accomplished in a technical sense, but operationally, you would be creating a gridlock nightmare. Imagine 200 vendors with their vehicles trying to set up in a ½ block area. Then fill those tents with thousands of Farmer’s Market customers. This would be a most unpleasant experience for all concerned. On a good Saturday, Farmer’s Market is already crowded; squeezing all those people into 1/6 the space would create problems that would be best avoided. Farmer’s Market has grown significantly during the past three years, and needs more room, not less.

As Farmer’s Market vendors for the past 20 years, we have a problem with how this situation is being handled. We attended the “dry run” on Thursday to check out our new spot on the south end of Main Street. Then, two days later, we received a slip of paper while we were busy at Market informing us of this new proposal, with the necessity that a decision be made right now in order to meet the arbitrary deadline of moving Farmer’s Market by Sept. 5. We were not informed of the key fact that the cost of leasing the tents would be deducted from the permanent shade fund. If Farmer’s Market vendors had been fully informed about the proposal and given the opportunity to vote, they would have overwhelmingly rejected it. As things stand now, we are feeling railroaded.

We would prefer that Farmer’s Market be moved to the south end of Main Street as originally planned. If it has already been decided to remove Farmer’s Market from Main Street entirely, we would suggest Young Park as the new venue. It is already an excellent location for the Renaissance Faire, and would be for Farmer’s Market as well. There is already lots of shade, and grass is cooler than pavement. In terms of a pleasant environment with lots of parking, this would be the most user-friendly of all alternatives.

At the very least, we hope the Sept. 5 deadline will be postponed until a more reasoned decision can be made.

Thank you,

Gordon Solberg
Laura Solberg