July 29, 2014

Elyria
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Elyria farmers market returns Saturday in new location

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.

Contact Lisa Roberson at 329-7121 or lroberson@chroniclet.com. Follow her on Twitter @LisaRobersonCT.

  • Sis Delish

    The City’s excuse is total and complete B.S.! There should be funds left over from the 2nd of July Fireworks extravaganza to fund a modest insurance policy for these folks.

    An Audit of the Mayor’s Fireworks Fund is in Order.

  • Mark B

    How is it different being on that empty lot , or walking on the city sidewalk in front of it . Seems there is more risk walking on the broken up patched up sidewalks down town .

    • Phil Blank

      At least yours are patched.

      • Mark B

        yea , patched with blacktop and tamped down with the back of a shovel

  • SniperFire

    Just hold it in a neighboring municipality. You know, one with their act together.

  • http://sugarbeargourmetpopcorn.com Kari Gall

    Sugar Bear Gourmet Popcorn LLC will be there and ready to be a part of Elyria!!!

    • Sis Delish

      Good Luck, but most folks come to Farmer’s Markets for fresh veggies.