Do we need a Chapel Hill Farmers Market?

Will students shop there? Will downtown residents? Will it draw customers away from Carrboro's market?

The Chapel Hill Downtown Partnership is working with local farmers and the town's Parks and Recreation Department to establish an afternoon market on top of the Wallace Parking Deck this spring.

- | Chapel Hill seeks farmers market, 2/18/08

And my main question: Will the Town finally clean up the scuzz at the Wallace Deck? The place is currently filthy, dark, and smelly. One of the least appealing parts of our downtown.

I'm all about supporting local businesses, fostering vitality downtown, and sustaining local agriculture. But I'm not clear how a farmer's market makes the top priority list, especially when we have a great one established a mile away in Carrboro (and sometimes in Southern Village). I'd like to hear more about the rationale for this.



There is a more hidden problem with the Wallace Deck, and that is that the police do not make it safe for the Town employees to clean. About 2 months ago, maybe a little less, the employee in charge of morning cleanup downtown was jumped on/attached by one of the homeless people who lives near the deck. The attacker was fended off by the employee, and the police arrived. They refused to arrest the attacker. The employee requested a transfer to another division and now there is a new employee cleaning up downtown early in the mornings. This is the third one in less than a year.


I'd love to see the Wallace Deck used more. After a good scrubbing though. Very sad to hear about the safety issues.

I have fond memories of seeing movies up there during the Hi Mom film festival. When its warm at night you can also see the chimney swifts (birds) swarm around the chimney at the Post Office. Good times.

What about more outdoor performance art? music? food stands? etc. I think there is a real economic dev opportunity. An important one for new business people who don't have lots of money to start a new business. I think if we care about all classes of people in Chapel Hill we should create obtainable wealth creation opportunities.

According to the N&O article downtown businesses would also be able to setup and sell there products. I would expect the food vendors would see this as an opportunity to expand sales. This may be a major reason behind the push for the Friday afternoon market.

Did you know the Chapel Hill/Carrboro Farmers market is open year round now from 9-noon on Saturday. Hours will change to 7 - noon when daylight saving time kicks in.

I think the issue of whether Chapel Hill needs and can support a local farmer's market should be completely separate from whether putting one in the Wallace Parking Deck makes sense.

Clearly, Chapel Hill could support a local farmer's market and clearly there's plenty of demand for an additional one to take pressure off the Carrboro market. There are enough customers and enough local growers to support both markets, if the CH one is sited correctly. The parking deck location may or may not prove sucessful. But, I hope that if it doesn't do well, it's not used to suggest that CH couldn't support it's own farmer's market. There are lots better locations for one. For instance, if one was located somewhere in the northern part of town, perhaps along Weaver Dairy Road, it could easily draw a completely different set of customers.

Personally, I think just about any reasonably affluent community of 10,000 or so health conscious folks could support a local farmer's market. So, by that thinking, I would imagine that CH could actually support a couple different farmer's markets. Anybody that's frequented the Carrboro and Hillsborough Farmer's Markets knows that most of the best produce, eggs and meats are routinely sold out by 10am. And there's not enough vendor space for all the vendors that would like to sell in those markets. So, really the issue isn't whether Chapel Hill needs a market, it's where it could best be located.

Hopefully those reading this post are aware that the Carrboro market is open year round now with winter hours currently 9-noon on Saturday. When daylight saving time begins (March ??) the market hours will be 7-noon. Please check out the webpage for more info.


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