I have been observing the Farmer’s Market matter, being discussed by the Town Council, with interest and a bit of humor. This matter need not become a tempest in a tea pot. The Farmer’s Market is of significant value and importance to Chestertown, however as little government as possible should be involved in its operation. The idea of another grant from the federal government is appalling. The market does not need restrictions, regulations and the red tape that comes with any and all federal grants. The market is entrepreneurship and small businesses operating at their best.
Any businesses with a sound operation should examine its operations on at least an annual basis. It is important to make change and improvements before you have to. A couple of thoughts about the Farmer’s market:
1. Establish a pedestrian mall for appropriate parts of downtown Chestertown on Saturday mornings. This act would benefit both vendors and customers and the merchants operating on High Street. Regarding parking, there are sufficient parking facilities near the market area. Use a part of market revenues to lease a small van or open air trolley to transport folks needing transportation to and from the market. And, it is a nice and healthy walk for several blocks to the market. Merchants may see more foot traffic.
The establishment of a non-profit organization to oversee and provide guidance for the market would minimize government involvement, and establish a forum for the primary groups and individuals concerned about the market. As Mayor Bailey correctly noted, a survey can assist with fresh ideas for the market’s operations and services. Survey the vendors and customers several times during the time the market operates, review the survey comments, act accordingly, and move ahead. This is not rocket science. Just a good marketing tool.
Councilwoman Kuiper made several astute and coherent remarks about this matter, took action on part of her concerns and it appears believes that any concerns about the market can be resolved with minimal local government’s significant involvement. I believe the council has many more significantly important matters to discuss.The Council need not be a trivial debating society, but a body that arrives at informed decisions, in a timely manner.
The Chestertown Farmer’s Market is a gem. Located in an interesting town, recognized as an outstanding event, successfully operated as a growing enterprise, the market is a winner. Working together, vendors, the town council and hopefully, a new nonprofit entity, to provide oversight, can reach consensus and move ahead. It is vital to the town that this happens.
Fletcher R. Hall