Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

June 28, 2013

No farmer’s market for Central Park

Carrie Stambaugh
The Independent

ASHLAND — A farmer’s market is not coming to Ashland’s Central Park.

An Ashland location has still not been selected, but several new spots in the vicinity of the park are being discussed, officials said Thursday.

Ashland City Commissioners met Thursday in a recessed session from last week’s regular meeting. They again discussed the farmer’s market in Central Park but backed off their earlier support for it.

Last week, the commission seemed poised to approve the request of the Boyd County University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Office to have a farmer’s market in Central Park on Fridays between 7 a.m. and 2 p.m. from mid-June through mid-October.

The seven-member Ashland Park Board has repeatedly denied a request, citing concerns over traffic and allowing private citizens to profit using public property.  Commissioners, however, have said publicly they liked the idea of a market and were willing to try if another location was found quickly.

Ashland Parks and Recreation Director Sean Murray has been serving as a liaison between the city and Lori Bowling, the horticulture agent who oversees the market. Murray said Thursday alternative sites outside the park were still being discussed.

Most are in the immediate area of the park, including a King’s Daughters Medical Center parking lot and a former gas station lot at 18th and Winchester Avenue,  along with the faculty parking lot of Crabbe Elementary School.

City officials would not need to approve the market at any of those privately owned locations. Extension officials were looking for a spot near Central Park because of its popularity, the foot traffic around the park and the ease of accessibility for elderly and low-income residents.

Bowling could not be immediately reached on Thursday. She said last week if a location was not found soon, Ashland would not have a farmer’s market this summer, as produce season is beginning to peak.

A Saturday farmer’s market is in Boyd County on the lot of Fannin Automotive along U.S. 60.

CARRIE STAMBAUGH can be reached at (606) 326-2653.

 or by email at cstambaugh@dailyindependent.com.