On Tuesday, April 9th, we requested an extension of time from the Town Council, to use the outdoor parking lot in its current condition for the duration of this season.
The Council discussed our request at length. It was erroneously stated that we had written a letter complaining about other businesses' parking lots. We have never written such a letter, nor ever mentioned other businesses' parking lots.
Councilman Todd Holtzman stated that he did not have faith in us paving the lot and suggested a performance bond in an amount as great as $5,000 to be paid.*
Councilman Rod Shepherd made a motion to permit the extension for the Market to use the gravel lot through July 1, with the contingency that we return to the Council in May or June to update them on the status of the paving of the lot. We felt this was a good compromise to which we could be agreeable.
Councilman Holtzman later amended Shepherd's motion to include the requirement that the parking lot be paved no later than July 1st or the outdoor market would need to close. Councilman Ken Hackenbracht seconded the amended motion and the Council unanimously approved it, with the exception of Kay Whetzel, who was not present.
Our goal for the outdoor farmers' market has always been to provide the community with something we understood was wanted. We were in the process of applying largely because the outdoor market is not about us, personally, making a profit. (Our profit will eventually come from what happens inside the four walls.)
Considering we were promised signage to be in place by the opening of this year's market, but the Council has stated that their provision of signage is now contingent on the parking lot being paved; also, considering that the Council seems to be bothered each time we approach them in an effort to work together; and finally, considering we have operated the outdoor market at a personal financial and emotional loss, we owe it to ourselves and to our vendors to be able to commit to the full season, which we cannot do at this point. We have decided that the best possible situation is to simply not open this year.
We want to deeply thank each and every one of you for your amazing support. Perhaps, if things go well for us in the future, our paths will cross again very soon.
We highly recommend seeking out neighboring towns' farmers' market: the Woodstock Farmers' Market, located at the Fort Valley Nursery in Woodstock; and the Harrisonburg Farmers' Market. They have some amazing vendors.
*Performance Bonds are typically used by municipalities to ensure that a private entity doing work within a public right-of-way, or for the municipality, will accomplish the work by a certain date and in a said manner. Performance bonds are not typically used to make a private entity perform improvements by a certain date.
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