The Spokane Valley City Council met during a study session Tuesday to discuss whether or not a farmers market would be a feasible project on the land the city purchased on Sprague Avenue across from the former University City.
Director of Parks and Recreation Mike Stone said the site is vacant right now. The city plans to sell some of the property to the Spokane County Library District and use the rest to expand Balfour Park.
He said the city would need to consider whether they should hire a coordinator for the market, decide on days and hours of operation, find vendors, provide maintenance, determine fees for vendors and the size of the market.
The city also would need to make a site plan, get temporary use permits, special event permits, a fire permit, insurance, utilities, comply with health department requirements and supply restrooms, although Stone said they could get by with portable restrooms.
He said community support would be the key to the success of any farmers market.
“This is government gone amok,” said Councilman Arne Woodard. He said the farmers market in Liberty Lake uses very little electricity and water isn’t mandatory.
Woodard said it’s a great site and the center of the community, but with all the regulations and requirements, the project wouldn’t work out.
“You’re not going to get off the ground,” he said.
Stone clarified that he had no intention of getting the city into the business of a farmers market, but the plan would be to turn it over to an operator.
“I’m in favor of a farmers market,” said Councilman Dean Grafos. “I’m just not in favor of the city doing a farmers’ market.”
The council agreed they hope someone would approach the city with plans for a farmers market on that site.
“I think it’s a great concept,” Grafos said. “I just don’t want to spend the city’s money.”
Woodard said the city should put a sign up at the site to let the community know the land is available for such a project and see what kind of response they would get. Anyone wishing to do so would assume the expenses and the risk.
Mayor Tom Towey said if the community sees a need and comes to the city, then the city should try to fulfill that need, although at the moment, they shouldn’t spend money or staff time to move forward.
“Right now, I just don’t think so,” Towey said.