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Farmers market to sprout on Fourth, come summer

Farmers Market

The Park Rapids Farmers Market will have a new home starting this spring.

The Park Rapids City Council approved a permit last week to close Fourth Street west from Main Avenue to Pleasant Avenue from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays from May 28 through Oct. 28. The market will be open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. but the permit will allow the street to be closed before and after to allow for set up and take down.

Farmers Market manager Ruth Ann Campton said her organization has been working with the Parks Board, city staff and downtown business owners to determine the best location. The Farmers Market had been using Pioneer Park. The only opposition came from Police Chief Terry Eilers, who was concerned about safety.

"Our priorities were to maintain a Main street presentation and to continue our support of downtown business owners by purveying wholesome locally grown products and educating shoppers about the value of healthy eating," Campton said in a letter to the council.

A group has been working on a plan to create a children's park at Pioneer Park in memory of Dawn Anderson. The Parks Board determined there wasn't enough space at the park for both uses.

Campton said the majority of the market vendors were in favor of setting up on the north side of Amish Oak on Fourth Street. Amish Oak also supported the location and has offered use of restrooms and electrical outlets. The location has a grassy strip that will accommodate market members who would not be able to participate if the market moved to an all-blacktop location.

The Farmers Market will be open Wednesdays and Saturdays. Vendors will be set up on the sidewalk and on Amish Oak property Wednesdays but expand into the street Saturdays when the group has up to 20 vendors.

"That's an awful busy street," Chief Eilers said.

The Farmers Market originally requested closing off Fourth Street from Main Avenue to the alley. Eilers proposed closing the entire block because vehicles could turn in and get stuck at the alley.

"I'm just looking at it from a public safety standpoint," he said. "There's a lot of cars there in the morning."

The council decided to give it a try and said it could be addressed if a safety issue develops.

In other business, the council:

n Heard the Park Rapids Area Library will be cutting back hours starting March 5.

Councilwoman Sue Tomte said budget decisions were made at the regional level through the Kitchigami Regional Library system. The hours will be reduced by four hours per week.

New hours will be Mondays from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesdays from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Wednesdays from 9:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., Thursdays from 9:30 to 5:30 p.m., Fridays from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturdays from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

n Gave approval for Lu Ann Hurd-Lof to submit a grant application to evaluate a stone building at Red Bridge Park.

If the grant is awarded the study will determine whether the building is worthy of being added to the National Register. A property listed in the National Register has been documented and evaluated according to federal standards and determined to be significant in American history, architecture, archaeology, engineering or culture.

There are no federal grants available for this currently. But, the state has Legacy funding available.

Anna Erickson
Anna Erickson is editor of the Wadena Pioneer Journal.
(218) 631-2561