Maybe in life we don't always need to understand things. Maybe some things are just meant to be, whether we understand them fully or not. At the same time, the chicken had a reason, or at least motive, to cross the road. Perhaps there was a juicy worm on the other side. Maybe the grass simply looked greener. Who knows? Who really cares besides the chicken anyway?
What I do know is that the Mount Jackson Farmers Market is meant to be. We still have a lot of unknowns ahead of us, but many things known already behind us.
What is known is the massive amount of support and encouragement we have received since launching our hopes, dreams and intentions. We also know that there are number of local producers that have a desire and need for such a place, as well as customers to come to such a place. The demand is here.
We will get to the other side of the road soon enough. (Are we there yet?!)
We have determined our minimum required budget for construction, which is entirely achievable. The County requires (and we want to provide) a minimum of ADA bathrooms, and ADA entrance ramp, and exterior railings. These improvements will cost about $20,000.
We are waiting to find out what the town requires, but we know of at least a hard surface parking area, landscaping, and perhaps curb, gutter and sidewalk because the business has been vacant for more than the 2 years allowed by Code. These improvements will run $25,000, but it may be possible that the Town has a business improvement loan to help offset the immediate costs.
The building itself needs a new front porch beam; a number of minor fixes that add up to some not so minor dollars; upgraded plumbing (this goes with the upgraded bathrooms); some electrical work and upgraded lighting; heat and cooling; new paint (especially the roof); and possibly a new roof over one portion of the structure. This is where it gets a little pricey. The ideal would be to have this money upfront, and then be able to take advantage of historic tax credits to offset the cost. Historic Tax Credits can be a wonderful resource, especially to commercial businesses, but you have to spend more than 50% of the value of the building! This won't be difficult, considering the age of the building; and these are improvements we need and want to make, but this means at least $50k of improvements. WowZer!
So perhaps I should be saying, "I dream of a world where banks would lend money without having the borrowers motives asked." Heck, I'm just dreaming of a world where banks would just lend money! ;-) (I know all my farming friends can relate to my frustration.)
Seriously though, once all these seemingly large things are worked out, which we are confident they will be, won't it be great to get your grass fed beef, locally grown produce, fresh baked goods, and maybe even a basket to put them all in, as well as cup of joe to keep you going at the Market, right here in Town?!
The old building stood on its own for 70+ years, what's another few days or weeks I suppose? In the meantime, hang in there with us. Keep the words of encouragement coming on the Facebook page. And, keep checking in as things unfold. If it is meant to be, which we believe it is, then it will, all in good time.
Also, keep passing the word. Share the Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/mjfarmersmarket
We're up to 76 "likes" and over 700 visitors to the website! These numbers help us to track interest, which also helps potential retailers, as well as the Town, know that the demand is here.
Enjoy the break from the heat!