Work begins on market

Published 10:35 pm Tuesday, November 11, 2008

FRANKLIN—Workers took the first steps Tuesday toward building a new farmers’ market downtown.

Machinery broke ground on the space just before lunchtime. The new sheltered facility is being built adjacent to Johnson’s Funeral Home, but set back off Main Street, with an entrance off Elm Street.

“This is about a three-week process,” said Ryan Goodrich, project manager with M.L. Bell Construction of Richmond. “The building is still being manufactured.”

The facility will be paid for through a grant from the Camp Foundations. The successful bid was for $82,000 by Bell-Mkejia of Ashland.

Vendors will be able to back their vehicles beneath the overhang.

The downtown market is part of the Downtown Flood Recovery Master Plan created after Hurricane Floyd in 1999.

The bid is to build a 38-foot by 67-foot pavilion with a concrete floor.

The pavilion could be completed before the end of the year, with a grand opening slated for the spring, said Dan Howe, Downtown Franklin Association executive director.

Now that the bidding process is complete, Howe said the next step is to establish a set of rules and procedures to manage the market.

Though the DFA is the driving force behind the project, it is setting up a management committee to draft rules for the market, Howe said.

He said items that will be sold at the market include fruits, vegetables and crafts.

“Homemade, home-grown is the primary goal,” he said.

The market has had its share of controversy, especially with vendors who are used to selling their wares in an open area on Armory Drive.

Howe said the city will work with those vendors to ensure a smooth move to the new location, a transition they must make in order to keep selling their farmer’s market goods.

“The city code will be revised to establish where (the market) is at,” Howe said.