Saturday, March 01, 2014

On the farmers market, planning and junctures, Gonder nails it yet again.

Once again, John Gonder makes a thoughtful, well-reasoned case for thinking outside New Albany's self-imposed boxes (his previous post is here).

Whether intended or incidental, John's two recent essays point to the glaring absence of a downtown economic development plan. Such a plan is periodically given lip service; it might even exist somewhere, rolled up on a dusty shelf, or crammed into a shoebox in the corner where the 8-track tapes were tossed a generation ago.

In-fill construction at the current farmers market location should be a priority stemming from a coherent plan, and yet piecemeal randomness remains the order of the planning day, almost certainly because short-term political expediencies are better served by the latter.

Is City Hall's previously stated goal of rendering the city "physically cleaner, financially stronger and fundamentally better" being achieved by anchoring the farmers market to its current location? If so, how? Can there be a transparent public discussion of this and other development issues?

Am I asking too many questions again?

Jump Step, by John Gonder (Gonder for New Albany At-Large)

... The Farmer's Market has an enviable record of success at its current location. I applaud and support the efforts of those who have brought it to this juncture. But, New Albany has likewise reached a juncture. One where we can embrace the efforts of those who have led the entrepreneurial resurgence of the downtown. Stretch the economic development canvas so as to paint a brighter future for downtown. Or, we can hunker down, stay on the same path, and recoil from something untried and new ...

... When I originally proposed the garage as a site for the market it was done as a reaction to the higher cost the Council was being asked to agree to. But, since that idea was originally voiced, I've come to believe there are stronger reasons than cost alone supporting a move of the market to the garage. And I believe those reasons would work to the long term benefit of the Farmer's Market as a valuable, sustainable, and important part of the downtown's current success. All while setting the table for infill growth at the corner of Bank and Market Streets, which can further advance the revitalization of our city.

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