Windsor debates Farmer’s Market

Published 11:23 am Friday, January 21, 2011

WINDSOR – The Windsor Board of Commissioners is expected to decide the location of a new farmer’s market when they reconvene Wednesday.

Matt Miller of Project H, who resides in Windsor and teaches at the Bertie Early College High School, asked members of the board for direction with the Farmer’s Market. The new market will be funded through a grant Miller has acquired for $120,000.

Miller said the board had led him to a site behind the Trade-Wilco convenience store near the boardwalk on the Cashie River and to the old Carquest building on Granville Street.

The place on the boardwalk is valuable because it could be new construction and could be valuable to the town. The Carquest building, he said, would be bigger and could be expanded to include more than a farmer’s market.

Commissioner Bob Brown said he knew Miller had looked at the facilities and asked which would be preferred by Project H.

Miller said the site by the river would be good for the farmer’s market, but said the gas station would be a significant deterrent.

Commissioner Joe Alexander said he preferred the site near the river.

“It could be a very cool, very specific place but would be limited to an open pavilion and the market space,” Miller said.

Alexander said the spot at the river could bring more to that area of town.

Commissioner Collins Cooper, however, said the Mid-East Commission had expressed an interest in a collaborative effort that could make the farmer’s market even better.

Commissioner David Overton said he would like to see the farmer’s market downtown where it could be beneficial to the businesses already in town.

Cooper said the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service in Bertie County was looking at a community kitchen and that could be done in the back of the Carquest building.

Miller said the benefit of that space is that it would be in the hub of the municipal area.

Overton said he thought the benefit would be that the farmer’s market, if marketed well, could draw people downtown.

Brown, however, said the town would have to buy the building and he thought it would cost an inordinate amount of money.

“I agree, I would love to have it downtown, but I don’t think we can afford to buy the building,” Brown said.

Mayor Pro-Tempore Hoyt Cooper said he was also concerned about the cost of buying the building and liked what could happen at the boardwalk.

“If you’re not willing to take a chance and do something downtown, how can you expect other business owners to do so,” Overton asked.

Brown said he thought the location near the river would still help the downtown area.

Collins Cooper suggested arranging a meeting with the Mid-East Commission to see if a partnership could be developed before a decision was made.

The board agreed to do that and make a decision when they reconvened Wednesday.