Indiana, PA - Indiana County

Letter to the Editor: Vote may drive farm market out of town

on April 11, 2014 11:00 AM

Tuesday night the Indiana Borough council voted 7-5 to deny the request from the Indiana County Farmers’ Market to relocate to IRMC Park on North Seventh Street. The move was requested because the space they have been using in the borough parking lot on Church Street is too small and cannot be expanded.

It seemed like a win-win proposal: The market would get the space they need, and the borough would benefit from the increased foot traffic in downtown and from the greater visibility of this health-promoting, family-friendly activity.

Those who opposed the market offered no explanation for their votes. In Wednesday’s Gazette, council President Nancy Jones is quoted as referring to a traffic study indicating that a lot of cars use the street during the time the market would be there. Of course, the traffic counts were done in bad weather when IUP is in session, not in good weather (the only time the market operates) or summertime (when most of the market days occur). Perhaps there is a count from the appropriate time last year? Oh, sorry, the street was closed then. Another concern that has been expressed is the cost to the borough, a cost that is only real if the borough council decides not to do anything about it.

Robinson-Lytle has concerns about people shopping in the market disturbing people visiting the funeral home. Curiously, Monday’s Gazette has a letter indicating that there are no visitations during the principal times that the market would be open. Traffic noise is surely louder than any noise coming from the farmers’ market.

The effect of the vote will be to drive the Wednesday market out of the borough. Pedestrians, bikers, parents with strollers, people who live in town will no longer have easy access to the healthy food and friendly atmosphere that come with the market. Shoppers will no longer be drawn to nearby stores and restaurants.

All of us will suffer from the loss of this attraction, one of those things that make Indiana such a great place to live. Indiana Borough deserves better than this from its elected council.

Peter Broad

Indiana Borough council member

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