GREEN BAY - Downtown Green Bay, Inc. executive director Jeff Mirkes says a new farmers market location hasn't been finalized, but it is in the works.
"We have actually looked at every street in our downtown district," said Mirkes.
Mirkes says the reason for the move is because of the extensive construction taking place on Monroe Avenue, which will extend through the market’s 2014 calendar. Right now, traffic is down to one lane in both directions – mostly between Main and Walnut Streets. But next year, Monroe will be closed to thru traffic from Mason to Main. That’s why the market, which is currently located just east of Monroe between Pine and Cherry Streets, is looking to move.
"Some [locations in the downtown district] really made sense,” said Mirkes. “But there were conflicts with some other very important events that consume the same space."
A key piece to the move is parking. A concern both organizers and vendors have expressed.
"It's going to depend – how's the parking, where is the parking,” said Jill Baldwin.
Baldwin and her husband Mark have owned Willow Street Bakery since 1993. The two have been a farmers market presence for the past five.
Baldwin says she was approached earlier this year about the move. While she says she's not against it, she does have some concerns.
“Relearning things,” said Baldwin. “Where are my favorite vendors?"
A possible location is somewhere along Washington Street.
Some business owners in that area say they would welcome such a move.
“People come for the farmers market, but they also come back the next day, next night,” said Steve Schneider who owns the Bellin Building and the Daily Buzz coffee shop at the corner of Walnut and Washington Streets. “[It] gives them exposure to perhaps an area that they haven't had exposure to."
Pat Kennedy, 89, saddles up at Al's Hamburgers on Washington Street at least four times a week. Kennedy says if Washington Street is chosen as a market site, it would prove a slight inconvenience for him and his routine. But says the market wouldn't stop him or others from coming.
"There are so many loyal – so to speak enthused – customers here that they would come even if it’s an inconvenience," said Kennedy who lives in Allouez.
Kennedy says the move would be a plus, probably introducing others to that famous hamburger he loves.
Mirkes says he hopes a permanent new location can be decided upon within the next two weeks.
Moving is not new for the market. It's already moved four times in its 96 years.
Also, four blocks south on Monroe another downtown summer event – the Summer in the Park music series is expected to move from Jackson Square next year because of the construction.
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