The Routt County Board of Commissioners decided Tuesday to allow a proposed farmers market to be held in the courthouse parking lot.
The county approved the market for this summer with contingencies, including that the city of Steamboat Springs approve the event.
The farmers and artisans market would be held from 7 a.m. to noon Saturdays from June 18 to Oct. 1. The event would be sponsored by Main Street Steamboat and would be called the Old Town Market.
County commissioners Doug Monger and Dan Ellison discussed the proposal with Main Street representatives Tuesday. Today, a meeting is being held for all interested vendors.
Monger stressed that the county's role was to decide only whether the market would be appropriate for the courthouse parking lot.
Whether the market should take place ultimately will be up to the city. The Main Street organization's next step is to apply for a special events permit, said Tracy Barnett, manager for Main Street.
The Main Street group ad--dressed county commissioners' concerns about holding the farmers market in the parking lot. For instance, a person has been designated to be responsible for the market; the market will incur no cost for Routt County; a plan detailing eligibility of vendors has been written; portable toilets will be secured at the site and locked so they will not be tipped over or used between markets; and liability insurance will be provided.
Barnett and Main Street Pres--ident Tom Ptach discussed some specifics of the farmers market with county commissioners.
The parking lot will have space for 35 vendors. At least 60 percent of the vendors will sell food products, and no more than 40 percent will sell crafts and other products. A selection committee must approve vendors selling crafts.
All items sold must have been raised, prepared or produced by the seller in Routt, Moffat, Grand or Rio Blanco counties.
Ptach said the project has wide support from downtown business owners, but he has heard some concerns. The main concern is that artisans could sell their items at the market and bypass the retail stores, or sell at a wholesale price the same items that the retail stores are selling.
"This is just another step toward developing the perception in our community that downtown Lincoln Avenue is the place to come for everyday stuff," Ptach said. The area is not just for tourists, he said, but for residents, too.
A meeting for any interested vendors is at 5:30 p.m. today in the ante room of the Routt County Courthouse Annex.