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Attleboro Farmers Market Granted Extension; Less Room for Non-Profits

The Attleboro City Council voted to extend the Attleboro Farmers Market permit until the end of October.

More than 100 people filled Attleboro City Council Chambers in support of Attleboro Farmers Market Inc., which was in danger of having to shut down the market because of its permit, which was set to expire on the last day of summer, Sept. 23.

The Attleboro City Council granted an extension for organizers to hold the market at the Attleboro municipal parking lot until October 29 after Eddie Porreca, Attleboro Farmers Market Coordinator requested an emergency measure for clarification on the permit's language during a City Council meeting Tuesday night.

"I believe that this is a global misinterpretation of the permit issued by the council in regard to the Farmers Market duration," Porreca said in letter to the Municipal Council. "I submitted a request to the council on June 2, 2011 for the use of the parking lot at 74 North Main St. for the first Saturday in July, July 2  until the last Saturday in October, October 29 2011.

An expired permit was not the only issue threatening the market's contination. A dispute between the market and the Attleboro Public Library's Board of trustees over parking was also an issue.

To deal with the issue of parking, the two organizations agreed to move the market from one area of the lot to another.

"It is a compromise that we were happy to make with the library and are grateful to all parties to allow the market to continue," Porreca said.

The move, however, equals less space for vendors and less space for non-profits including the Friends of the Attleboro Animal Shelter, Attleboro Dog Park, Project 9/11 and other groups that have utilized the weekly market to spread the word about their cause.

Joan Pilkington-Smyth, a member of the Attleboro Public Library's Boad of Trustees, would not comment on the outcome Tuesday night.

Attleboro City Councilor Richard Conti, who helped form and launch the market, said he is worried about next year.

"I want a farmers market to be next door to a friendly neighbor," he said after the meeting.

"At the conclusion of this season I think what we'll do is evaluate the location and poll our vendors," Porreca added.

said she was happy with the outcome, but was upset with the fact that it came only after a lot of headaches that could have been avoided.

"If you believe in something enough and are passionate enough about it, it's worth fighting for," Porreca said after the meeting. "Today was a great lesson in democracy and compromise."

frzgrdw September 21, 2011 at 10:56 AM
If space is an issue. Why not have it behind the library in the open "parking area"?
Judy R. September 21, 2011 at 01:27 PM
Better yet, why not have it in the park between the 2 parking lots? The park is "town" property, right? There would be lots of parking above and below the market venue and there would be room for the non-profits, which is an added bonus. Aside from that, isn't the parking lot near the library a "public" parking lot?
Heather Porreca September 21, 2011 at 01:30 PM
Thank you so much for your comments! Just for information, the lot behind the library on Riverbank road is actually private property. We are currently making plans for next year and are open to any and all options!
John L September 21, 2011 at 04:01 PM
Why not Capron Park? People have a better chance of going over to the zoo and spending more money after visiting the market than spending money downtown. More parking in the park and surrounding area as well.
Kendelle Aronson September 21, 2011 at 05:43 PM
Capron Park is a great idea! That would be my vote for a location. It's fairly centrally located for all areas of town and huge draw for the zoo. Maybe the zoo could even offer a special rate with proof of purchase from the AFM.
Heather Porreca September 21, 2011 at 07:05 PM
Keep the IDEAS pouring in!!!
Steven Scott September 21, 2011 at 07:43 PM
I can't believe that the trustees are so shallow as to scrutinize the wording of the permit. As I understand it a deal was worked out as far as parking, then the trustees gathered and changed their minds? All in all I am glad this was resolved,just disappointed that it had to go this far as I'm sure everyone had better things to do with the time spent.
Judy R. September 21, 2011 at 08:14 PM
The lot on Riverbank Road is private property but a lot of people are using it to get to the Farmer's Market. I know the owner and I'm confident she would consider allowing the public use of it, if she was approached.
Sarah Slater Bennett September 21, 2011 at 08:43 PM
Lack of parking is the biggest problem facing any business in downtown Attleboro.
Chrys Swenson September 22, 2011 at 11:31 AM
I constantly hear complaining about people not using the library as much as they did in the past. I would think that having the Farmers Market so close to the library would be a good thing because people might walk in and check out what the library has to offer. The Farmers Market is for a short period of time. It helps local businesses. Our neighbors for goodness sake! The money I spend on vegetables goes to a local farmer instead of a big corporation like Stop & Shop. This bickering is shameful! Add the fact that Non Profit Organizations cannot be there, I'm disgusted. We need a new shelter for the animals, and because the library complains the FAAS can't be there to plead their case & get donations. I guess books are more important than people & animals.
Judy R. September 22, 2011 at 04:06 PM
If the city wants to help promote the idea of a "downtown" they need to be working hand-in-hand with the Farmers' Market Assn in finding a better and/or a permanent solution, and even a winter location for year round business. Is there a building they could rent for a nominal fee? Any city-owned parking lot should be considered, whether it is right downtown or not. What about the commuter parking lots for the train traffic? They are not full on Saturdays. Are they city property?
Steven Scott September 23, 2011 at 12:49 AM
What about the empty lot next to the Old Barn where they tore down one of the few factories left in the city? I believe the ARA has control of that, here's their chance to give something back and do something positive.
Walter Stitt September 23, 2011 at 11:13 AM
The library trustees did what public officials charged with a responsibility are supposed to do, they advocated for the service they have been charged to oversee. In the end it was their intervention that cleared up the misunderstood nature of the Market permit in the lot, and allowed the mayor and council to move the Market forward to the 29th while still giving access to a publicly funded library service. The comments of Heather Porreca about this being democracy are exactly right and I thank her for them. I hope the Market continues to thrive.. Walter Stitt, Library Director

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