Jessica Hopkins, the Director of the Emporia Farmer’s Market, is what we like to call a “doer”.  The Farmers Market has grown significantly over the past few years.  The growth of the market coincides with downtown business and job growth.  The result of mutual growth is parking stress, and that stress can be managed proactively or re-actively.  The leadership of the Emporia Farmers Market chose to address growth issues proactively while planning for future permanent changes.
 
The plan is to move the market from the 700 Block of Merchant Street parking lot to a side street: either 8th Avenue or 7th Avenue, between Merchant Street and Commercial Street.  The move would allow events to “cone” the side street parking with traffic cones, but retain street usage until the actual event (for example- the street would be closed Wednesday in the late afternoon and on Saturday mornings during market season, but would remain open all other times).  During an event, the side street would remain closed to traffic.  This change would retain the entire parking lot in the 700 Block of Merchant Street for business and consumer use- the Emporia Farmers Market would not block off parking in the area.
 
If the side street concept tests well, it could pave the way for an outdoor project that permanently houses the Farmers Market and other outdoor activities in proximity to local businesses and event venues.  Read the official change proposal bullet points below:
 
 
 
2017 Outdoor Season: LOCATION CHANGE PROPOSAL
Dates: May 6-October 28 
Saturdays, 7-11 am (MARKET OPEN 8-10 AM) 
Wednesdays, 4-7 pm (MARKET OPEN 5-6:30 PM)
 
Proposal:  Relocation of the Emporia Farmers Market from parking lot at 7th & Merchant to 8th Avenue or 7th Avenue, between Commercial & Merchant Streets.  The market would request the city commission utilizes their street closure ordinance for approved hours and dates during outdoor market season (attached).  This request would only adhere to the 2017 outdoor season; market & city may re-evaluate the plan for future use.
 
Additional Requests:
  • 7th Avenue, between Commercial & Merchant streets, street closure request on Saturday, June 3 for Dirty Kanza
  • Use of city’s street barricades & cones
  • Relocation of the market kiosk & bench to northeast corner of parking lot
  • Enforce city towing policy, as needed
Current Concerns
  • Crowded parking lot, particularly for Wednesday markets
  • Barriers are moved & not enforced, creating an ill-defined space for the market vendors to set up & operate
  • Limited parking for market customers within immediate vicinity
  • Not pedestrian friendly for market shoppers
  • Downtown events, including Dirty Kanza and Great American Market, need to utilize all downtown parking possible
Benefits of setting up at 7th or 8th Avenue
  • Utilizing 7th or 8th Avenue provides a well-defined space for the market
  • Pedestrian friendly walk-way & sidewalks
  • Wide center “corridor” for demonstrations, activities & hosting organizations
  • Additional parking would be freed-up in north end of parking lot
  • Creation of additional parking spots by relocation of the kiosk
  • Visibility from both Merchant & Commercial Streets
  • Opportunities to partner with area businesses
  • Storage in 727 Dirty Kanza/Main Street Building
  • Usage of Dirty Kanza/Main Street barricades
  • Build public support for potential pavilion project (CID Phase 3)
2017 Outdoor Market Dates for Street Closure Request
 
Saturdays: 7:00 AM-11:00 AM
MAY 6, 13, 20, 27
JUNE 3, 10, 17, 24
JULY 1, 8, 15, 22, 29
AUGUST 5, 12, 19, 26
SEPTEMBER 2, 9, 16, 23, 30
OCTOBER 7, 14, 21, 28
WEDNESDAYS: 4:00 PM-7:00 PM
JUNE 7, 14, 21, 28
JULY 5, 12, 19, 26
AUGUST 2, 9, 16, 23, 30
SEPTEMBER 6, 13, 20, 27

OCTOBER 4, 11, 18, 25