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Potatoes, peas ... and a pavilion?

Princeton Farmers’ Market plans for an open-air structure

Published: Wednesday, March 5, 2014 1:04 p.m. CDT • Updated: Wednesday, March 5, 2014 1:07 p.m. CDT

PRINCETON — The city of Princeton is moving forward with a lease agreement with the Princeton Farmers’ Market Cooperative, so the group can build an open-air pavilion structure for an expanded farmer’s market in Princeton.

At Monday’s meeting, the Princeton City Council had a first reading of an ordinance to approve a 20-year lease agreement with the Princeton Farmers’ Market Cooperative group for the use of the city’s parking lot at the North Main Street/Elm Place corner, where the city currently has its annual summer’s farmer’s market. The city council is expected to have its second reading and final approval of the lease agreement at its March 17 meeting.

After Monday’s seven-minute council meeting, group spokesperson Greg Carrott said the new pavilion will be about 90 feet long and will run alongside of Main Street. The structure will have a roof and walk-throughs and provide space for 14 stalls for vendors and restrooms.

In time and as money allows, the plan is to build an addition to the pavilion which would include classroom space and a certified kitchen in order to provide educational instructions and services for the community. A total of about $900,000 is needed to do everything, Carrott said.

The Princeton Farmers’ Market Cooperative has obtained its 501c3 status which means it can receive grants from foundations, and donations to the cooperative are tax-deductible for donors, Carrott said. Fundraising letters are expected to go out in the mail in coming days. An account has been established at Central Bank in Princeton.

The farmers’ market project couldn’t have gone forward without the support of city officials, Carrott said, adding his hope is the new pavilion will be completed by the fall.

In his comments, Mayor Keith Cain thanked Carrott for his leadership on the project, which the mayor described as a great thing for the community. The city has met with area business leaders who have shown support for the project. The city’s only direct involvement in the project is the leasing of the property to the group. The city has made sure the project meets all city zoning requirements and codes. The new pavilion will meet all accessibility requirements, the mayor said.

Looking ahead, Cain said the 2014 farmers’ market will go forward as usual this summer on the same North Main/Elm Place corner site, making any needed adjustments within the parking lot for construction. After the new pavilion is completed, the city plans to pave the remaining parking lot area.

On Tuesday, Princeton City Manager Jeff Clawson said the lease agreement with the Princeton Farmers’ Market Cooperative is for $1 for the entire 20-year period. Since the group is responsible for the building development costs, the city was able to provide the low-cost terms for the agreement. The city will cover all parking lot utility costs, such as electric for lights. The farmers’ market group will cover the utility costs for the structure, including water, sewer and electric, Clawson said.

For more information on the project, contact the Princeton Chamber of Commerce at 815-875-2616.

Comment on this story at www.bcrnews.com.

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