The Boyne City Commission unanimously approved a request to have an architectural study completed on the Veterans Park pavilion.
This move will be the first component of the first phase of a proposed project to transform the pavilion from summer-only use to a year-round facility that would house the Boyne City Farmers Market winter market.
“This is the next step in the pavilion project,” said Boyne City Main Street Program Manager Hugh Conklin during the Tuesday Oct. 22 Boyne City Commission meeting…. “The purpose of the project is to build architectural designs and cost estimates to expand and retrofit Boyne City’s Veterans Park pavilion into a multi-use year-round structure including use as a winter farmers market location.”
The estimated $7,500 it will cost the firm Environment Architects of Traverse City to perform this initial work will be funded through a $12,500 planning grant the Boyne City Main Street Program’s farmers market was awarded from the Michigan Economic Other components of this first phase will include a multi-day community charrette—or intense planning session—that will be followed by a public presentation of the design and initial cost estimates of the actual project.
According to Boyne City Manager Michael Cain, not only was Environment Architects the firm the city found to be most well-suited to do the work but they were also the low bidder on the project.
The third component of the first phase will consist of a final report that documents the process and findings for use in the proposed project’s implementation.
Improvements to the pavilion could include expanding and redesigning the structure to possibly include garage door-like walls that could be lowered in cold weather, a heating system, demonstration kitchen, stage and storage area among others.
According to Conklin, the hope is to hold the charrette before the end of the year.
Boyne City Commissioner Derek Gaylord asked how the members of the veterans park pavilion committee were chosen and whether any citizens were given the opportunity to sit on the committee. Conklin said they were not.
Cain said that is how most of these types of committees are formed—internally.
Gaylord asked how much it costs for vendors to sell their wares in the market. Conklin said the fee is approximately $150 annually.
“Something that I hadn’t heard mentioned, that perhaps we should entertain discussion on, is formation of a co-op, perhaps, of the folks that use it as far as generating that organization and allowing them maybe to contribute the funds for this project
in addition to any grant funds or meet any matching grants,” Gaylord said.
Conklin told Gaylord that, once this initial process is completed, that could be considered.
“The farmers market is a trademark of Boyne City and I would like to see it continue to grow and expand,” Gaylord said…. “And I’m just wondering—this isn’t a negative comment, it’s just realistic—maybe, at the end of the day, it isn’t the best thing just to put walls or clear garage doors around it and fix a kitchen.”
Gaylord asked if commissioners will be allowed to give their input on the proposed project during the charrette process.
Cain said one of the issues that has been discussed is that the city should not have preconceived notions on the proposed project, and wait until the research is completed and the public comment is taken before making any decisions.
“I think this is a real important first step,” said Boyne City Commissioner Laura Sansom.
Boyne City Commissioner Delbert “Gene” Towne said he is in favor of moving forward and wants to hear public input on the matter.
Boyne City Commissioner Tom Neidhamer also supported the step toward enhancing the farmers market.
Boyne City Mayor Ron Grunch also supported the move.
According to farmers market officials, the year-round aspect of the market has become relatively successful since its inception two years ago when a winter market was added in a temporary location adjacent to the Boyne City Library, filling the available space with up to 24 vendors.
Based on that success, the farmers market committee sponsored a one-evening visioning event in September 2012 to explore ideas for developing a permanent winter market facility.
The participants identified key criteria including proximity to downtown, opportunities for food-related demonstration and a dining area, flexibility for other uses, and possible connections to the city hall complex.
The grant requires a proportional funding match which is expected to come from the farmers market reserve fund which, as of June 6, contained at least $7,000. The rest of the matching funds are expected to come from the main street program.
If all goes well, the project is expected to be completed by May 31, 2014.
The Boyne City Farmers Market was one of 10 farmers markets from around the state to receive a share of $200,000 in planning grants.
According to the MEDC, the one-time grants—ranging between $10,000 and $50,000—were awarded to farmers markets that have operated for at least four years.
The MEDC—which is primarily funded through state and federal tax dollars—offered these grants as a part of its duties as the main state-run economic development and marketing agency for certain Michigan-based businesses.
For more information, go to boynecitymainstreet.com.