CARLSBAD — After fading for the past few years, the Carlsbad Farmers Market has been given the chance to sprout on new soil on State Street.
The city’s Planning Commission unanimously voted May 15 to move the farmers market from a small parking lot on Roosevelt Street to the 2900 block of State Street between Carlsbad Village Drive and Grand Avenue and extend the event’s weekly hours.
After years of rapid decline, the farmers market “had the chance of running itself out in a year or so,” said Steve Gibson, the president and founder of Urban Place Consulting Group, Inc., which is working with the city to revitalize the downtown Village area. “It had to move and it had to grow.”
“I think the existing farmers market, excuse me, is pretty pathetic compared to those around it,” said Commissioner Hap L’Heureux at the meeting.
The new site on State Street will allow a maximum of 56 vendors, compared to the current site that can only hold 32.
The new location is also intended to increase visibility of the market, according to Carlsbad City Planner Shannon Werneke, who presented the project.
While everyone present at the meeting was in support of growing the farmers market, a few business owners expressed some concerns about how the market would affect businesses on State Street and the hours.
Phil Milloy, a Carlsbad resident who owns buildings and a business along State Street, said he was worried that the market would deter customers from entering businesses along the street. He said that the market could, “take a day out of the livelihood of some of our businesses.”
One of the market’s current vendors, Andrea Debbey, who sells jewelry and other crafts, said she was worried that by allowing the market to operate past 4 p.m. it would attract a “party market” type atmosphere.
“It’s a different kind of clientele than I want for Carlsbad,” she said.
Planning Commission members discussed the barriers that were proposed to block off State Street during the market hours, but otherwise offered full backing of the changes.
“I think (changing the farmers market’s location) is something that should have been done a long time ago, and I hope it brings some energy and vibrance to the city,” said Commissioner Michael Schumacher.
If City Council approves the move, the farmers market will soon operate on State Street on Wednesdays from 1:30 to 8 p.m. in the summer and 1:30 to 7 p.m. in the winter.