The Downtown Development Authority has plans to renovate Traverse City’s farmers market. The goal is to make the market a more comfortable and efficient space for customers and vendors.
On Saturday mornings, Sara Hardy Downtown Farmers Market can be so crowded it’s hard to navigate, especially with a stroller or wheelchair. Some customers avoid the busy hours or skip out on the market altogether if they can't make it in the early morning. Plus rainy days mean fewer customers for vendors.
"It could just be a much more customer, farmer-friendly environment," says Jan Chapman, a long-time customer of the market.
The DDA is planning to widen the sidewalks and build sheds for weather protection. Phase one would include one long shed for customers and vendors. Phase two would add an additional shed.
Colleen Paveglio, the DDA’s marketing director, says, "This is important for economic development. This is important to support our farmers, and this is also important to provide fresh food to our community."
The DDA estimates the first phase of the project will cost $1.9 million. They have a little under $500,000 for the project already. The rest of the funding would come from grants and foundations.
They'll pursue phase two of the project if they can get enough funding. The total cost of phases one and two is around $3.5 million.
If approved, renovations would begin in the spring of 2017.