Farmers market may be held by courthouse

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A farmers and artisans market could be held Saturday mornings in the Routt County Courthouse parking lot this summer.

A group trying to organize the market met with the Routt County Board of Commissioners on Monday. The group is in early planning stages, and the courthouse lot at Fifth and Oak streets is the primary option for the market.

County commissioners said they support the idea, but they want to make sure several issues were addressed. Their concerns included liability insurance, trash, restrooms, size of the market, location of booths and responsibility for problems at the site.

"We'd probably support this," County Commissioner Doug Monger said. "Same point and time, (we) don't want to get a lot of headaches out of this."

About a dozen people interested in having a farmers and artisans market came to Monday's meeting.

Sandy Morris presented a petition with 126 signatures from owners and managers of downtown businesses interested in having a market downtown.

Jonathon Hieb, who owns Sweet Pea Produce with his fiance, said a farmers and artisans market could draw people out to shop.

"I think that Steamboat needs something like this," Hieb said.

The market should not incur any costs to the county, Monger said. He also said that criteria should be made to determine what sorts of items could be sold.

"I don't think we need to create a retail vendor outlet," Monger said.

Organizers said they agreed and were in the process of creating such criteria.

Before any market can take place, the city of Steamboat Springs must approve appropriate permits.

The group has met three times since the first informal meeting was held March 3 to discuss the idea of a market.

Originally, the market was proposed for Eighth Street, but the group worried that there would be opposition from businesses and problems with parking at that location.

Routt County Agricultural Extension Agent C.J. Mucklow said the group began seeking alternatives. Mucklow offered to help the group get details about having the market in the county parking lot.

The group plans to start the city planning process soon and pursue formal approval from the county to use the parking lot.

The market is proposed to be from 7 a.m. to noon Saturdays from June 18 to Labor Day. The parking lot could hold 46 vendors, Mucklow said.

-- To reach Susan Cunningham, call 871-4203 or e-mail sbacon@steamboatpilot.com

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