Mayor and Athens Farmer’s Market react to City Counsel meeting

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Athens City Council was filled with Athens Farmers Market supporters Monday.

The market board is looking for help from the city to find a new, permanent location.

Athens Mayor Paul Wiehl says the counsel looked like they were willing to assist, but cost is the big issue right now.

"I don't think they have a location in mind and that would make the difference,” he said. “If they're looking for some expensive, high rent area then we might have a problem. It comes down to where they decide to go."

At Monday’s meeting one of the board members said the letter of the day was “P,” standing for permanent, paved, plumbing, power and potties.

"We don't have electricity to everybody who needs it,” explained Becky Rondy, a member of the Farmers Market's permanent site selection committee and part owner of Green Edge Gardens.  “There's one tiny power outlet that we use to run our food stamp token machine. For plumbing, we go into the mall to wash our hands. There's pavement but it's not permanent. So really, the only thing that we have of the five P's is pavement."

Rondy says a permanent location is important so the market and it's vendors can have a sense of consistency and more room for growth. With over 100 vendors and about 50 on their waiting list, the board hopes to get started on the plans within a few months.

Wiehl says in one sense it is really up to the citizens to make this decision.

“When you get down to it, I don’t think the city is prepared to actually spend money on it,” he said. “I think it’s a good idea. I think really what their intent was Monday night was to start the dialogue and to say ‘Okay, if we all appreciate the farmer’s market what do we do to maintain and make sure it’s sustainable?’”

Rondy says she is hopeful and very optimistic that the money can be gathered for the move.

“I felt like the response that we got from city council seemed to be very positive,” she said. “Many people nodding their heads. This is something that we want to do if we can. I feel like if the moneys can be gathered and I don' think we expect the city to come up with all the money.  I don't think anybody has that expectation but we do need their support behind anything that we do to try and make this come to fruition.”