Design options on new facility to be studied
The recent effort to engage the community to address the future of the Parkville Farmers Market has been very successful and has steered progress moving forward, according to Chris Cline, a senior principal at Confluence.
Confluence recently utilized a survey tool to solicit community feedback and address all the opportunities available to the city of Parkville as it moves forward with determining the prospect of replacing the inoperable iconic structure. Confluence received a whopping 893 responses over a 14-day period and presented the results of the public engagement survey to city officials during a joint work session with the Parkville Board of Aldermen and Community Land and Recreation Board on Monday, Aug. 22.
Cline said he received 818 online responses, 17 responses in a joint work session, nine responses in a public meeting, and 49 hard copy responses.
He said 53 percent of respondents identified as a resident of Parkville, 41 percent of respondents identified as farmer’s market customers, 2 percent were vendors, and 4 percent identified as others.
Based on the respondents’ feedback, Cline said there was a general consensus among participants that the farmers market should remain at its current location along S. East Street in Downtown Parkville.
Earlier in the process, city officials indicated they would explore the idea of moving the Parkville Farmers Market to another location, perhaps west of its existing location as outlined in an updated master plan.
“A number of the vendors that we talked to out there said they really like where it is now because on Saturday mornings the trees provide a lot of shade and that area doesn’t heat up very quickly,” said Cline.
Vendors said they also like the current location because of its close proximity to the English Landing Park, where various events draw large crowds throughout the Farmers Market season.
Parkville residents and farmers market customers also strongly indicated their preference to keep the structure at the same location with the same east-to-west orientation. Cline said vendors pointed out that the east to west orientation minimizes the chance of direct sun.
Cline said the results of the survey narrowed the focus on keeping the farmers market at the existing location rather than exploring options for its relocation.
When participants were asked to list two to three things that excite them about replacing the Parkville Farmers Market, respondents said, “more vendors, increase variety, bring more people to Parkville, more parking, and make it better for farmers.”
The survey also asked participants to list two to three words describing additional activities or uses that could be held at the Farmers Market. Cline said the most common responses were meetings, music concerts, flea markets, community events, beer gardens, art shows, food trucks, and craft fairs.
“These were the larger version of things that people said they wanted to see happen,” said Cline as he shared the results in a word cloud to illustrate the survey results. “A lot of things related to music and a lot of things that I think could be a regular occurrence down there at that structure. It could be during farmers market, or it could be a regular Friday night kind of thing. But it seems like there is a lot of opportunity with a little programming to use this structure to create more events and bring more people downtown.”
When participants were asked what additional amenities should be considered in the new facility, the public said ceiling fans, lighting, power outlets, water source, and public restrooms. Cline said the public was also very excited about the possibility of outfitting the structure with garage doors, but the vendors were “less enamored with it.”
According to the survey results, there was little interest in adding a storage facility.
Neil Davidson, chairman of CLARB, said he has received a concern from a downtown business owner involving how the structure will look.
“They are worried about the appearance of it and want to maintain the downtown appearance—the old look,” said Davidson.
Mayor Dean Katerndahl said that based on the survey results, it is clear the public wants the structure to maintain the surrounding charm and the city will honor the request.
During Monday’s night meeting, city officials acknowledged the City of Parkville is negotiating figures with insurance companies regarding two separate insurance settlements that will help pay a portion of future expenses related to rebuilding the structure. The out-of-court resolution will settle the dispute between the city and the owners of two trucks that struck the Parkville Farmers Market in separate incidents earlier this year.
Moving forward, the city will hold another joint meeting in October, but there are still many details to work out.
With the complexity of even considering additional options in the weeks and months ahead, a board member and several CLARB members volunteered to serve on a small committee to address and refine the design options with Confluence and BBN Architects. Those members include Tine Welch, Dane Laiben, Mary Jane Kuehn, and Phillip Wassmer.
In the near future, BBN will soon be taking the lead as the architect with Confluence remaining at the table.
The board will get to review and consider at least two to three alternative options with various cost estimates.
“We’ll look forward to seeing this at the next CLARB meeting,” said Mayor Katerndahl.
The mayor said he thinks the biggest constraint will be identifying the funds to pay for the full replacement.