Council gives go-ahead to open-air style market

BLYTHEWOOD – A 7,300 square foot open air market structure proposed by the Doko Meadows Park Foundation for construction was approved by Council Monday evening. The facility will have associated storage and restroom facilities.

Equip Studio provided council with a schematic of what the market structure will look like. The cost to move forward to design the structure will be $6,200, Town Administrator Brian Cook said. The market that will be located in the park between the Town Hall and the Sandfield Road entrance to the park.

During council’s retreat last month, there was discussion about constructing the market so that it could be closed in, possibly with roll up doors to provide indoor settings for craft and other vendors and events such as the town’s annual holiday market since these kinds of events have difficulty finding affordable indoor accommodations.

Councilman Eddie Baughman, who also serves on the park foundation, explained that the foundation committee has put lots of time coming up with a design for the market.

“It’s been a long time in the making,” Baughman said. “Our idea was that this was going to be an open air farmers market first. This is the concept that the park foundation would like to go with,” he said, referencing the schematic. “While this market project is a collaboration between the town (council) and the foundation, it is the foundation that is going to be tasked with raising the funds to get this built.

“When you handcuff the foundation in a sense where you’re going to change the concept, you’re going to make it more difficult for the foundation to raise that $300,000,” Baughman said.

“We’ve met with Mr. Cook and I think he will tell you that every member of the foundation would like to see this concept go forward. If there are events that need to be able to lock their wares up, I think we can make other accommodations for those events,” Baughman continued.

Baughman said, again, that an open air market is what the people want.

Councilman Donald Brock said he was the one who had spurred the idea for a structure that could be closed or open.

“I just wanted to make sure we weren’t being short sighted. I was not aware of the fact that the farmers market has been a two year project,” he said. “If this is the type of design that the park foundation wants, who am I to stand in their way and say ‘no? ‘ And if the foundation has potential donners lined up to fully finance the project, who are we to stop them?”

Council voted unanimously to move forward with the park foundation’s open air market plan.