The Oak Ridge Farmers Market will be set up differently at Jackson Square starting Saturday, July 11, and for the next six to eight weeks to provide additional parking for customers.
Because both Blankenship Field and Jackson Square parking lots are closed for repaving, the City of Oak Ridge will be closing Broadway Avenue every Saturday morning from 8 a.m. to noon in front of Jackson Square until more parking becomes available.
This will allow some farmers to set up on Broadway Avenue, while others will remain in a smaller area of the Farmers Market parking lot, allowing more space for customer parking. The Farmers Market will not block any sidewalks in Jackson Square, so that customers can still get to the shops and businesses there, a press release said.
“This is the time of year when seasonal produce is in abundance, so we have more vendors than any other time of the year,” said Steve Colvin, president of East Tennessee Farmers Association for Retail Marketing (FARM), which operates the market. “We want to be sure there is room for all our vendors and our customers to park.”
The market is also open Wednesdays from 3 p.m. until sellout, around 5 p.m. However, Broadway Avenue will not be closed during those hours.
There are two parking lot renovations under way at Jackson Square. The first renovation, which is funded by a state grant awarded in 2012, started in January, and it is inside the square. The second is funded by unspent Oak Ridge traffic camera money, and it is at the lower parking lot at Blankenship Field. A contract for that project was approved by Oak Ridge City Council in June, and work has started there.
The third lot in the area, the parking lot used by the Farmers Market, was renovated earlier, before renovations started inside Jackson Square. The Farmers Market lot is adjacent to the Blankenship Field lot and directly north of Jackson Square.
Closing part of Broadway on Saturday mornings was one option the city had given the Oak Ridge Farmers Market now that two of those three parking lots are being renovated. The other was to temporarily move the Farmers Market to a city-owned lot on Tennessee Avenue, on the south side of Jackson Square.
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