Re-1 works to keep Farmers Market |

Re-1 works to keep Farmers Market

Post Independent File Photo/Kelley Cox

A Glenwood Springs property that no longer sells bolts and nuts apparently will continue to be the place to go on summer Saturdays for fruits and veggies. The Farmers Market, a 20-year tradition, has survived a school construction project that led to the closure of True Value Hardware.The Roaring Fork School District Re-1 bought properties housing businesses that included True Value, to make room to build a bigger Glenwood Springs High School.The Farmers Market operated out of True Value’s parking lot. School district officials expect to allow the market to continue selling from essentially the same location, in an area that will be converted to high school visitor parking. However, that location isn’t expected to be ready until sometime later next year.In the meanwhile, during school construction, the district plans to let the Farmers Market set up behind the district administration building a little ways north on Grand.True Value hadn’t charged the market to operate in its lot, having benefited from increased traffic, said Ken Kuhns, a Peach Valley farmer and an organizer of the market. He said the school district also is indicating the market won’t have to pay to use the district property.

The Glenwood Gymnastics Academy also closed after being unable to find a new location following its ouster by the district. Kuhns said it’s his sense that the district is trying to show some community goodwill in the case of the market following recent backlash over its takeover of the business properties.However, Kuhns said district officials have been in contact with market organizers for about a year and a half, around the time of the bond election that provided the financing for the high school expansion and other school projects.”Since the start they had indicated they really wanted to work with us,” he said.School board member Sue Hakanson concurred.”We’ve been talking with Kenny and the Farmers Market people since we started planning. Our hope is to be able to accommodate them,” she said.”It’s just a wonderful community asset. … I think it’s a great partnership,” she said.It didn’t hurt the market that some school board members, Hakanson among them, have been longtime patrons.

Hakanson said she goes every Saturday, looking for “anything that is in season and any of the great organic produce that Ken brings.”She looks forward to late summer when bags of fresh-roasted green chili peppers become available.”It’s heavenly,” she said. “It’s fun to get the local, fresh items when they come in. It’s really nice just to build a partnership with them.”Kuhns said the school district and Farmers Market organizers are finalizing their arrangements to use school property. He said the organizers also were offered use of the parking lot of the Van Rand shopping center adjacent to the old True Value site, but it’s a little smaller than they would prefer.They also have been told they could use the parking lot outside American Furniture Warehouse in the Roaring Fork Marketplace on the south side of town. But Kuhns prefers a location closer to downtown, such as the school site.”We do like having the walk-up and bike-up traffic and being a little more centrally located there in town, as well as having the history of that location for the last 20 years,” he said.

Kuhns said the temporary location would include the grassy area beside the district administration building. It’s possible the market would provide some other attractions besides food, such as art and music, perhaps with involvement of school organizations.But the focus will continue to be on food. Kuhns said the market has become increasingly popular over the last decade.”It took a long time to build that but now I think the consciousness is there in terms of farmers markets,” he said.Kuhns said this year’s market probably will open after Strawberry Days. He said his own growing season is a little behind the past few years because of cooler weather.Contact Dennis Webb: 945-8515, ext.

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