January 19, 2012 in Washington Voices

Liberty Lake may upgrade farmers market

By The Spokesman-Review

The city of Liberty Lake could see an upgrade to its current farmers market location near Appleway Boulevard and Meadowwood Lane.

“It’s the center of the community,” Community Development Director Doug Smith told the council.

New Mayor Steve Peterson unveiled a new plan for the 6.4 acre plot during his inaugural council meeting two weeks ago.

In the first phase, the city would add parking spaces to what is now a Spokane Transit Authority Park and Ride lot and would create an area for the farmers market to expand.

Last year, more than 40 vendors set up shop in the market and thousands of visitors came to the area, Smith said.

“Participation is phenomenal,” he said.

Smith said the next steps in the project would be to meet with the farmers market board of directors and meet with representatives of STA since it owns the parking lot. The city would advertise the plans for construction, request bids and try to begin construction in the spring or summer.

The council also continued its ongoing discussion of its rules of procedure.

Interim City Administrator Mike Cecka said there were several topics of discussion the council should think about. Attendance and citizen comments were two of them.

Peterson compared serving on the City Council to having a job. He said it was a lot like when his son got a job at a fast-food restaurant – it didn’t pay a lot, but he had a responsibility.

“They are counting on him to come in and do his job,” Peterson said. “They community is expecting us to be at this table.”

The council members agreed that 10 absences in a year is too many, and if a council member missed that many, they should step down.

They also discussed whether they should engage in conversation with the public during citizen comments and how many times citizens would be granted the opportunity to speak. Right now, they have a chance at the beginning of the meeting, at the end of the meeting and during public hearings.

Brickner said he would like to be able to clarify points a citizen was making, but didn’t think a response was necessary.

The council hasn’t made any decisions regarding the rules and the conversation will continue.

The next Liberty Lake City Council meeting will be Jan. 31 – a special meeting to select a new City Council member. So far two residents have submitted applications, and applications will be accepted at City Hall through Jan. 25.

Reach staff writer Lisa Leinberger at lisal@spokesman.com or (509) 459-5449.

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