Location alternatives for Farmers’ Market will receive review

Location alternatives for Farmers' Market will receive review Dr. Chuck Yelverton and his father, Forrest, prepare to make a purchase Saturday morning from Ella Severson at the Farmers Market, located on High Street near the Clay County Courthouse. by David Lias Location, location, location.

Local individuals involved with the Farmers' Market in Vermillion say location is crucial to help make their venture a success.

The Clay County Commission, however, believes there are better places in the city for the market to set up stands every Saturday morning than High Street, near the Clay County Courthouse.

At its May 3 meeting, the Vermillion City Council gave the Farmers' Market permission to locate at the intersection of Main and High streets on Saturday mornings.

Representatives of the county commission hoped they could convince the city council to change that decision at its May 17 meeting.

"The commissioners are not against the Farmers' Market in any way, shape or form," Clay County Commission Chairman Jerry Sommervold said. "We are a little uncomfortable with the location."

The commission believes that Cherry Street would be a better location for the market because of its higher traffic volume.

"The nature of the courthouse is a little different than some areas," Sommervold said. The commission is concerned about the county's liability if a child, while playing on the retaining wall that surrounds the courthouse, falls and is injured.

"The courthouse and its grounds ? belong to all of the taxpayers of the county," Sommervold said. "We didn't feel that it was in the best interest of the county to provide a private business with facilities for those Farmers' Market booths to be in business and be in direct competition with other businesses in Vermillion that are already here and established and own property and pay taxes."

Rebecca Anderson, a representative of the Farmers' Market, refuted several of the points the county commission made in a letter it wrote the city council on May 11.

The Farmers' Market is a non-profit organization that allows only home-grown and handmade goods to be sold. Everyone, she said, is welcome to participate, and a small fee is charged to defray the cost of advertising and liability insurance.

Vendors who anticipate they will sell over $433 worth of goods in a year are required to obtain a sales tax number.

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"We are paying taxes, and many of our vendors and a majority of our board members are property owners in this county, so we pay property taxes as well," Anderson said.

The county commission noted that it has offered the Clay County Fairgrounds for the Farmers' Market use. Anderson said the market has never been very successful there because of low traffic volume.

In contrast, vendors in the past two weeks have been delighted with the number of people who have visited their tables at the High Street location.

"We've moved so many times, and we've been trying to find a good location, and I have to say, just in the past two weeks, this location is great," she said.

Mayor Roger Kozak suggested that the market be allowed to stay at High Street, but, at the same time, the city, county and the vendors work together to perhaps find another good location for the market in Vermillion.

"In the interest of finding resolution here, I'd like to suggest that you work with the city," he told Anderson and other market vendors present at Monday's meeting. "We can involve the county, we can look at other sites, but in the meantime, we don't send you packing.

"Let's make a fair assessment of other locations," Kozak said.

"I didn't come up here tonight to eliminate the Farmers' Market, and I didn't necessarily come here to move it," Sommervold said. "I'm sure the commission will be receptive to any way to solve this problem, and it doesn't necessarily have to be moved from High Street. We just want some answers to some questions."

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