SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

April 18, 2014

Danvers won't have farmers market this year

DANVERS — The Rotary Club has withdrawn its proposal to open a farmers market downtown, saying the idea needs more time to take root.

Instead, they hope to return to selectmen next year with a more comprehensive plan.

“It wasn’t an easy decision by any means,” said Bill Nolan, a local chiropractor and member of the Rotary Club of Danvers, which proposed the farmers market downtown. The service club first suggested the Hobart Street parking lot as its site, then the long parking lot adjacent to Town Hall. The market had been proposed for Wednesday afternoons from mid-June to mid-October.

A Danvers farmers market would follow on the heels of those in Salem, Beverly, Peabody, Marblehead, Swampscott, Ipswich, Topsfield and Middleton.

Danvers appears to be fertile ground to start a farmers market.

The Danvers Farmers Market Facebook page has drawn nearly 1,400 “likes.” And Nolan said that with little effort, he was able to get 300 signatures on a petition. Vendors from all over have been reaching out to him, he said.

But the group faced some resistance from business people concerned that the market would compete with downtown stores or parking for those stores. In a letter to selectmen, C.R. Lyons, chairman of the Downtown Improvement Committee, said his group needed more details about how the market would work before deciding whether to back it.

Gardner Trask, chairman of the Board of Selectmen, said selectmen plan to follow the lead of the Downtown Improvement Committee in the matter.

Faced with the need to provide more information to the town and business leaders, organizers decided it is getting too late in the season to pull off the kind of market that would make an impact in town. A small market with few vendors would be possible, but Nolan said it would be better for organizers to wait until next year and do things right.

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