ELYRIA — The Invest Elyria Farmers Market will set up at a new location starting Saturday.
Vendors will be near the intersection of Chestnut and Broad streets in the green space next to Kaplan’s Furniture. Five vendors will be there 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., said Brandon Rutherford, founder of Invest Elyria.
The property is privately owned by Terry Wacker, who has agreed to allow the nonprofit organization to use the parcel.
“The nice thing about this space is it is located right next to the bike trail,” Rutherford said. “When I first walked the space, people on their bikes rode past, so I hope we see them back on Saturday.”
Invest Elyria originally sought to use a city-owned space at 328 Broad Street. However, without proper liability insurance, the city could not authorize the use of the property, said Safety Service Director Mary Siwierka.
“We were ready to go and had City Council pass an ordinance back in April to allow the group to use the space for the farmers market,” Siwierka said. “We were very excited about the endeavor, but Invest Elyria did not dot their Is or cross their Ts.”
Siwierka said Assistant Elyria Law Director Amanda Deery tried since April to work with Rutherford to get the necessary paperwork completed and show proof of insurance.
Rutherford said he understands the city’s position, but his organization did not have the funds to buy insurance.
“It’s a shame we live in such a litigious society, but I understand where the city is coming from,” he said. “We still don’t have the insurance, but we believe in bringing a farmers market to the city and knew we had to find a private property owner to work with us.”
Invest Elyria used the city lot for just one Saturday in late June. The former Elyria City Hall and Sears department store used to sit there, but the decayed building was razed a year ago after the city’s Building Department condemned it. A seeded green space was left after crews demolished the building.
Siwierka said she hopes other organizations seeking to use city space would understand why liability insurance is required. There is an exception for small community gardens. Individual gardens that do not sell their vegetables or have vendors on the property can use lots without obtaining insurance, but they have to sign a release of liability waiver.