I’d like to comment regarding the Fairfield Farmers Market.
This past Saturday, for the first weekend since it has opened this year, the market was held in Howard Park. The first few Saturdays it has been held in the street (Grimes), between the McElhinny House and Howard Park.
When the vendors are set up on Grimes, it is a much more open concept. There is room to walk and I wander all the way up to the end to look over all the wares. It is spacious and breathable when it is set up on the street and much more inviting.
Now, when it is set up in the park, it is the opposite. The conditions are very crowed and claustrophobic. This past Saturday, because of the rain, people with open umbrellas were maneuvering that narrow sidewalk and I nearly lost an eye.
I had two vendors I wanted to visit specifically. I got my tomatoes and my asparagus and then I left. I didn’t visit the other vendors set up on the west side of the trees. I didn’t walk through the wet grass to possibly purchase a bagel or croissant. And I try to purchase something from as many vendors as I’m able. A bunch of onions here, a bunch of lettuce there…not this past Saturday.
That sidewalk is what? 3 feet wide? That doesn’t give much room to walk with strollers, bicycles, pets and more. I heard that one day last season, a wheelchair overturned because there was no space. In addition, the ground of the park is uneven in places which makes it difficult to walk.
There is an argument for the park that when the market is set up in the park, there is more parking space for customers. Yes, especially when customers park in the angled parking *and* along the south side of Grimes next to the curb. That makes for very interesting and frustrating driving when one is trying to back out of those angled spaces.
So I ask, what do we need to do to get the Farmers Market set up on Grimes permanently? There have been so many improvements to Howard Park specifically to improve the conditions of the market, like additional and safer electrical outlets for the vendors. Can we not consider the safety and ease of the shoppers as well?