Posted on

Farmers market planned for annex

The Harrison County Board of Commissioners Monday morning agreed to sell the annex building to Main Street Corydon Inc. to be used as a year-round, indoor/outdoor farmers market.
Since Main Street Corydon is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization, the county was able to sell it for just $1.
Tom Fields, with Harrison County Economic Development Corp., came up with the idea of a farmers market after visiting the site.
Fields, who was hired last month, was most recently employed by Appalachian Sustainable Development, where he started and helped grow a number of farmers markets in the area of Abingdon, Va.
‘It’s one of the best uses for a building like the annex,’ he said.
Fields said the addition of a farmers market downtown will help draw business to the entire area.
‘We’re going to see some more businesses visited, a little life,’ he said.
Catherine Turcotte, Main Street Corydon’s executive director, said studies show 60 percent of farmers market visitors also frequent shops within walking distance.
And with the future addition of Zimmerman Art Glass at the old Coakley’s lot (300 E. Chestnut St.), Turcotte said the farmers market will help capitalize and develop the area, which also includes Old Town Store antiques.
‘It really makes a nice corridor there,’ she said.
Turcotte said it’s the best use for the building, since it floods occasionally.
The 8,200-square-foot structure will be basically gutted of all its interior walls and will be an open facility with natural light, Jeff Shireman, of Shireman Construction, said. With the way it will be designed, the floors could be hosed off in the event of a flood, he said.
Shireman Construction provided a plan a couple years ago for a new facility for a farmers market in the area, but using an existing building instead will save money, Shireman said.
It will require a new roof, which Main Street Corydon plans to raise funds to pay for.
Turcotte said a successful, well-attended farmers market will be a big win for local farmers.
‘I love the idea it promotes agri-business,’ she said.
The goal of the plan is to bring two separate farmers markets ‘ Harrison County and Indian Creek Marketplace ‘ together.
‘We can get them all to come together if we provide a nice place,’ Turcotte said. ‘One of Main Street Corydon’s primary objectives is to get everyone working together to benefit the community and one another.’
The facility also will provide a place for Purdue Cooperative Extension to host workshops and hands-on events and could serve as a New Roots Inc. site.
New Roots, based in Louisville, ignites communities to come together, share knowledge and build relationships with farmers to secure access to fresh food. Its vision is to see that affordable fresh food is accessible and enjoyed year-round.
‘Miranda (Ulery, Harrison County’s Extension educator) thinks this building would be a perfect opportunity to set up one of those stops,’ Fields said.
Turcotte said the plan is to kick-off the farmers market this summer, but it won’t be year-round for another year or so after that to give farmers time to prepare.
She said downtown merchants are concerned about the square being closed for renovations, and the addition of the farmers market will help draw in visitors.
The commissioners had previously agreed to start the process to have the building demolished before Main Street Corydon came to them with the idea of taking over the property.
Main Street Corydon is a collaborative effort of downtown businesses, property owners and interested residents to promote, preserve and revitalize the historic central business district of Corydon.
‘Main Street Corydon’s mission is to make downtown Corydon a place that attracts, welcomes and refreshes residents, business owners and visitors with its excellence and energy, through historic preservation, cultural vitality and entrepreneurial spirit,’ Turcotte told the commissioners and audience. ‘That’s what we’re working towards.’
Commissioner Jim Klinstiver, who said he’s been an advocate of this for a long time, made the motion to sell the building to Main Street Corydon. It was unanimously approved.
Commissioner Kenny Saulman provided the dollar for Main Street Corydon to make the purchase.
The commissioners’ next meeting will be Tuesday, Jan. 20, at 7 p.m. (moved from Monday because of Martin Luther King Jr. Day) at the Government Center.