“We were the last ones they talked to. We have no control over it.”
City Times Staff
A manager of the downtown Farmer’s Market said the future of the market is in jeopardy after city officials proposed expansion and changes to the downtown staple.
Dan Mielke, from the Farmer’s Market Association, said the group was presented the proposed change at its annual meeting on Sat., April 2.
“We were the last group the city contacted,” Mielke said, adding the city usually gives some form of presentation to the group each year, but typically it is provided by Trisha Church, an employee of the city’s streets department.
This year’s presentation was given by Mayor Mike Wiza, Mielke said.
The proposed changes include allowing an additional 40 farm vendor stalls, as well as 25 “non farm” vendor stalls, to the downtown market.
“That would make us more like a flea market, and double our competition,” Mielke said. “This came out of no where and the mayor said we were the last group he’d contacted about this.”
Apparently, we were the last group to hear about this proposal!
The added stalls, Mielke said, would eliminate virtually all the parking spaces around the outer perimeter of the square and the bulk of the parking spaces on the west section of Main Street. Non-farm vendor stalls would be located on the sidewalk portion around the outside area of the public square, in front of local business, according to the city’s presentation.
“The mayor was really vague as to who was driving this, where this was coming from,” Mielke said. “Upon pressing the issue, we were told that some of these vendors will be food and drink vendors and art and craft vendors like one sees at other events. We were told that they had already spoken with the other entities involved and mentioned them as being the city, the Association of Downtown Businesses and Farmshed.”
The Stevens Point Farmers Market Association later voted to not favor the proposal, Mielke said.
“But I don’t know if there’s anything we can do,” he said Monday. “We should be home working on our crops, but instead we’re out trying to stop this.”
Mayor Mike Wiza was not immediately available for comment, but relayed the following message through his executive assistant: “There is no proposal and the story is untrue.”
More as we have it.