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Wednesday, Jul 23, 2014
Plant City Courier

Local farmers market has new venue

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Published:   |   Updated: May 7, 2014 at 02:16 PM

PLANT CITY Less than a month after it opened, a weekly market has moved to a new home.

Plant City Get Fresh Market’s new venue is the old train depot at 102 N. Palmer St. The hours of operation remain the same, 4 to 8 p.m. Wednesdays.

City Special Events Manager Deanna Hurley said the market is a great fit for the city’s owned Union Station Depot The city, with the help of local donors, has spent a lot of time and money improving the area around the depot, including a train viewing platform and permanent displays of a small locomotive and caboose.

“The city is excited to sponsor this event and looks forward to great success in the new location,” she said in an email.

The market was forced to move because its former location, at Heather Henderson’s home at 115 W. Alsobrook St., lacked proper zoning for retail sales. The home is zoned commercial.

“I thought commercial was commercial,” said Henderson, who is one of the market’s founders.

A dozen vendors or so set up in Henderson’s yard Wednesdays starting April 9. The number of shoppers was beyond expectations, so the new, more spacious venue with plenty of parking was welcome, Henderson said.

City Senior Planner Phillip Scearce said officials became aware of the market due to publicity and knew that Henderson’s property wasn’t zoned for retail or outdoor sales.

The city met with market organizers and offered to allow the weekly event at the depot.

The market includes locally grown produce, including some organically-grown, and vendors selling jewelry and other handmade crafts.

The move is bittersweet, Henderson said.

The new venue is spacious, and any attempt to stay at he former location would have required a lengthy rezoning effort, she said.

But “they’ve tried several farmers markets downtown and they have never worked,” she said.

Still, she’s optimistic that this one will be successful, particularly since the city is making a concerted effort to promote downtown events. Hurley was hired a few months ago to help boost special events, including those downtown.

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