Officials getting input, discussing options
For decades, the Parkville Farmers Market has been the perfect outdoor gathering space for farmers to sell their seasonal farm-fresh vegetables and hand-crafted goods directly to customers. Anecdotal evidence suggests the iconic wooden structure in the parking lot near English Landing Park in downtown Parkville was built by the Amish.
But on April 28, the noteworthy wooden structure was damaged when a box truck hit the east end of the building. Less than two months later—on June 13 to be exact–a tractor-trailer truck struck the north end, rendering the structure unusable and inoperative.
Since then, the Farmer’s Market operation has been temporarily displaced just west of its original location. Tents now house the half-a-dozen or so vendors selling various selections of produce and homemade treats.
On Wednesday, July 13, the city hosted a joint work session with aldermen and the community’s land and recreation board (CLARB) to discuss the future of the Parkville Farmers Market and the replacement process for the structure. Chris Cline, a senior principal at Confluence, provided expertise in planning and replacing the extremely vulnerable Farmers Market structure with a new, well-designed facility.
Unlike the original Farmers Market structure that was established in 1984, Cline’s vision expands well beyond a run-of-the-mill Farmers Market. A possible new facility could include both indoor and outdoor areas, restrooms, and protected storage. Cline also brought up the idea of adding additional amenities to add a bit of interest including outfitting the structure with power outlets, raised curbs, a drinking water source and ceiling fans.
Several aldermen indicated they wanted to dial it down, expressing their preference for affordability over abundance. Due to the original structure’s iconic charm, several aldermen inquired whether a total replacement was truly necessary.
Cline cited a recent study that strongly indicated that the damaged structure was beyond repair. While two insurance settlements will likely help pay some of the monetary cost to rebuild, it is believed it will not sufficiently cover the cost of a full replacement.
“We are currently determining the replacement cost with the insurers of both of those trucks. It may take a little while to go through that process,” said Cline. “It’s probably hard enough to go with one insurance company, but you have two trucks that damaged the same structure and trying to decide what percentage each insurance company needs to pay for (will take time.)”
The city is open to exploring the idea of moving the Farmers Market to another location, based on the board of aldermen and the committee’s response to questions about the potential of its relocating. In fact, the city’s updated master plan calls for moving the Farmers Market west of its current location.
BBN Architects will help with the architectural design of a new Farmers Market structure. In conjunction with the Farmers Market replacement, Confluence will partner with GBA to provide streetscape enhancements and improvements along Hwy. 9.
The city plans to have the new structure completed by June of 2023. But ahead of construction, which is tentatively scheduled to begin next January, Mayor Dean Katerndahl said there will be a resident engagement process. On Wednesday, July 20 and Saturday, July 23, the public is encouraged to visit the Farmers Market to fill out a questionnaire and provide input about the Farmer’s Market. In addition to last Wednesday’s joint work session and the Farmers Market booth, a public meeting will be held on Tuesday, July 26 at City Hall.
“We’ll be capturing all that input up through Aug. 3,” said Cline. Once an input summary is compiled, the next step will involve the consideration of all available design concepts, from wood and steel to new features and amenities.
During the joint session meeting, aldermen took turns sharing things they liked about the iconic Parkville Farmers Market. Its outdoor setting and easy accessibility were mentioned as admired elements.
Before the meeting adjourned, Sheryl Bierman of Parkville took to the podium to emphasize the importance of considering the cost of replacing the Farmer’s Market structure.
“Many times I have said to the board of aldermen: ‘let’s not get the cart before the horse. Let’s make sure we have the funds to do what we want to do before we start these extensive plans and then we are stuck with an extensive plan that we can’t afford.’ We don’t want to spend all that Parkville tax as Mayor Katerndahl said. We’ve got some things that we’ve got in the park that we need to take care of. We have a new master plan that we have to work on because the citizens of Parkville said: ‘Platte Landing Park needs to be passive.’ How can we make that fit in with this?”
“We are going to be balancing a lot of things here,” said KaterndahL. “Time–we would like to get it open as soon as possible, but we want the public to be engaged on this–plus money.”