The Fredonia Farmers' Market, which currently operates under a partnership with Festivals Fredonia LLC, is seeking to form as an independent organization.
The farmers' market's intentions were brought up during Monday's Fredonia Village Board meeting. President Pro Tempore Margaret Bruegel recently sent a letter to the village board informing it of the decision to turn independent.
"Our goal has always been to become an independent market, to be able to be self-managing, and we, as the farmers and the artists who come to vend the market, are really the best people to move forward with it," Bruegel said.
OBSERVER Photo by Greg Fox
A topic of discussion during Monday’s Fredonia Village Board meeting was the desire of the Fredonia Farmers’ Market to form as its own independent entity. Pictured, from left: Trustee Phyllis Jones, Village Administrator Richard St. George and Mayor Stephen Keefe.
The board appeared open to the idea of having the farmers' market form its own entity, according to Mayor Stephen Keefe.
"They have the right to come together independently and run their own farmers' market," he said. "It's kind of independent of the village at this point. We want to promote them, it's an outstanding farmers' market, and we want to help them in any way we can. I think how they want to operate is up to them."
Bruegel said the farmers' market is hoping to become an independent organization by February.
"We've been working with the Farmers' Market Federation of New York to ensure we've got everything in place to be able to become independent," she said. "We already have a membership for 2014 (with that federation), so we are an entity, we exist with that. What we will be able to do, as our own entity, is we will combine the summer and winter markets into one big market. We have to create bylaws that define the organization and then file articles of incorporation (with the state) to become an incorporated entity."
The farmers' market hopes to also form a "friends of the market" organization, which will be volunteer-based to help bring in people to help with the actual events. Bruegel said this should encourage the farmers' market to become more community-oriented.
"(We would like for it to be) a complete community organization, rather than being run by one organization that has limited manpower and limited resources," she added. "We have a lot of exciting opportunities moving forward ... with expanding different programs that we want to do. By becoming an independent organization, we have the freedom to be able to work with a lot of those opportunities."
According to Bruegel's letter, the farmers' market will request use of Church Street and Barker Common every Saturday from May 17 through Oct. 25 from 7 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. This time will be subject to change during the vendors' spring meeting. The farmers' market will also request continued use of the equipment shed.
Festivals Fredonia stepped forward this past February to run the farmers' market after the resignation of Barbara Sam for the purpose of retirement. Sam was the primary organizer of the farmers' market.
Bruegel said the farmers' market encompasses about 15 regularly-participating farms and several seasonal farms, as well as almost 10 craftspeople who produce artist-quality crafts.
Also during the meeting, the board paused for a moment of silence to recognize former Fredonia police officer Ann West, 58, who passed away Thursday.
"Ann ... joined the force in 1983. She was the first woman to ever be on the Fredonia Police Department. In 1996, she was put in the position of sergeant and she was the first woman to hold that position in Chautauqua and Cattaraugus counties," Keefe said.
West retired from the police force in 2003.
A resolution was approved allowing for Allen Marine Services of Tonawanda to remove all accumulated sediment debris within the clear well reservoir, at a cost not to exceed $12,600. The funds for this project came from a re-appropriation in the budget and were initially earmarked for a generator at the Webster Road water tank.
"There's about a foot of debris in the bottom of our clear well and the Health Department wants us to get it out of there," Village Administrator Richard St. George said. "These people are one of the only ones in this area that do that kind of thing. You actually have divers going into the clear well to vacuum it up, like a swimming pool."
The board will meet for a workshop session next Monday at 6:30 p.m. on the first floor of the village hall. A special meeting at 7:30 p.m. will follow in the Trustees Room.
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