Thursday, January 02, 2014

Happy New Year, and let's prevent a mistake!

I had heard rumors for a month now that the Cooper-Young Community Farmers Market was being wooed by Loeb to move from the parking lot of First Congregational Church at Cooper and Walker to the new parking garage at Overton Square.  Today, Toby Sells of the Flyer has an article about this possibility.

CYCFM is the only year-round Farmer's Market in the city that sources from local growers and vendors; the others in the area are seasonal.  From what I am hearing, the vendors are not agreed as to whether this would be a good move or not, and I tend to think that it will not be as positive as one would suspect.

First, while the bottom floor of the Garage would provide cover for the Market, its' accessibility would be reduced, as well as its visibility from the street.  Second, will food trucks be allowed, or would the local restaurants surrounding the Market raise a stink?  Third, while this is a nice addition to the Square, how knows long Loeb will stay committed to what has always been a COMMUNITY market?  Loeb, for all the great things they have done, is a BUSINESS, and if the Market becomes more of a problem or out grows its space, could get dumped for something more profitable.  CYCFM, you KNOW that won't happen with First Congo.

And lastly, but most importantly, what about the COMMUNITY in the Cooper-Young Community Farmers Market?  You serve the whole of Midtown in your great space in the First Congo lot, and it is a COMMUNITY meeting spot for that area.  There is lots of parking surrounding your current location, the irony of moving to the Square Garage is that there might actually be LESS surrounding parking for your customers.

CYCFM, you are one of the city's greatest assets, please consider this carefully before you leave your home at First Congo.  Your intentions, and those of Loeb, may be good, but like my daddy used to say, the road to Hell is paved with good intentions.

Thanks for reading.


G. Moeller said...

Your arguments are persuasive, Steve. First Congo is a non-taxable entity that is committed in a way that a business cannot afford to be. I withdraw my objections to opposing the move.

Thank you for keeping us informed!

Tom Jones said...

Great post, Steve. The future of Overton Square should not be based on poaching existing assets from other neighborhoods, but in creating new ones for its own area.