Steamboat Springs The Mainstreet Steamboat Springs Farmers Market likely won’t expand this summer after the organization that promotes downtown was told it couldn’t expand onto the Routt County Courthouse lawn.
Mainstreet Manager Tracy Barnett said the Routt County Board of Commissioners worried that weekly pedestrian traffic would be too hard on the grass. Barnett wanted to expand the Saturday Farmers Market on Sixth Street between Lincoln Avenue and Oak Street because of the increased interest from potential vendors and to generate additional revenue for Mainstreet.
The Farmers Market previously was on the courthouse lawn for two years.
“The commissioners offered the use of the alley,” Barnett said. “I just have to evaluate if that’s going to work for the vendors. It gets a little crowded in that alley with people coming and going and loading and unloading stuff. I think we’re going to have to stay the same.”
Barnett said she learned of that possibility Wednesday morning and would have to think about it. She said it probably would add only four or five booths.
Barnett said other potential sites have been ruled out. She said city officials didn’t want her to move to Yampa or Oak streets but offered 10th Street. Barnett said she thought that wouldn’t work with Bob’s Conoco on the corner.
Not expanding would keep the Farmers Market at 67 vendors. As of Wednesday, Barnett had received 78 applications. She expects a few more.
Barnett said she has approved 28 applications for food vendors. She said 49 craft vendor applications are pending review, and one was denied because of tax issues.
“The majority of them will get in,” she said. “This may be the market at this point. There may be a few that don’t get all the dates they want, but I should be able to fill them in in places.”
Barnett said she hopes to review those applications, which also include nonprofits, this week.
She said it’s going to be a great summer for the eighth annual Mainstreet Farmers Market, with returning favorites and new vendors, even if it can’t expand.
“There is something to be said for keeping it smaller so all of the vendors get more exposure. The more vendors you have the more you dilute the market for the vendors,” Barnett said. “They have to be profitable to come, to have a good market. I don’t want too many vendors. I’ll just have to find another way to make money for Mainstreet.”
The 2011 farmers market made about $25,000 for the nonprofit Mainstreet, the mission of which is to promote and improve the downtown shopping and dining district. That $25,000 represents almost 20 percent of Mainstreet’s 2012 operating budget of $140,000. The city of Steamboat Springs, member dues and other fundraisers provide the bulk of Mainstreet’s funding.
To reach Jack Weinstein, call 970-871-4203 or email jweinstein@SteamboatToday.com