To the editor of THE EAGLE:
Thank you to those who have expressed their enthusiasm for the work that our nonprofit group is doing to restore the fairgrounds. We are aware that the suggested $2 donation for parking at the Farmers Market on Saturdays has raised some confusion.
The need for this donation arises out of a welcome problem -- the unexpected success of the relocation of the Farmers Market! Attendance at the market has boomed since it moved from its former location at the train station. The challenges of safely and efficiently handling the vehicular and pedestrian traffic demands on site have been substantial, and the fairgrounds volunteers have put forth great effort week after week to successfully meet that challenge this summer. With the exception of a few rain puddles, we have been able to provide a comfortable, safe site for all of the visitors.
The effort needed to accommodate the market’s success has been draining for our resources in many ways. Now it is time for us to pay the parking staff who work to help hundreds of vehicles enter the fairgrounds, park clear of wet areas, and respect handicap zones, pedestrians walkways and loading zones, and cover our costs for hosting this successful market. The token payment from the Farmers Market is not sufficient to cover our costs or to pay our hard-working folks even minimum wage. The $2 parking donation, while minimal, significantly improves our ability to maintain the fairgrounds and keep it available for the community.
Bringing the fairgrounds back from fallow ground to a community gathering place brings all sorts of challenges. We welcome ideas, suggestions and elbow grease as we lead the effort to build something we can all enjoy, learn side by side and be proud to feature in the heart of our landscape.
Andy Matlow writes for the board of the Fairground Community Redevelopment Project (GBFG).