The Westwood Village Improvement Association will look into new times, days and locations for the Westwood Village Farmers Market after merchants raised concerns over the market’s impact on local businesses.
"The biggest issue is where it’s going to be and the day," Gail Friedman, Sarah Leonard Fine Jewelers owner said at a Westwood Village Improvement Association (WVIA) committee meeting last week. "It’s not that we’re against the farmers market, we’re against where it is and the time."
The market currently runs from noon to 6 p.m. Thursdays on Broxton Avenue.
The WVIA, which manages the Westwood Business Improvement District (BID), held a District Issues Committee meeting last week to discuss what to do next in light of proposed operator Raw Inspiration’s decision to withdraw its proposal to run the market.
Raw Inspiration was the only respondent to a Request for Proposal (RFP) solicited by the WVIA in May. The market operator was in the midst of contract talks to manage the farmers market when it pulled out of the running in the face of opposition from some community members and local merchants.
"A farmers market to us is [meant] to bring good things to a community, not to argue with a community," Raw Inspiration President John Edwards said.
Despite Raw Inspiration’s hesitancy to run the market, the WVIA hopes to continue negotiations with the operator.
"Once we know the parameters of the market … the day of the week and the location … it will be up to (Raw Inspiration) to decide whether that works for them," WVIA Executive Director Andrew Thomas said.
The WVIA will first work with the city to determine location alternatives. The group also plans to reach out to property owners and merchants within the district about possible locations and days.
Edwards said he’ll wait for the BID and merchants to decide on a good time and place for the market, including whether or not one is needed in the Village, before he further considers managing the market.
"There’s no reason for us to do any more now," he said, adding that he’d like to hear back from the BID once these decisions have been made.
The farmers market will run as scheduled for now under current operator Steve Whipple, Thomas said, and changes aren't likely to occur until 2013.
"We’ll know a lot more about our process once we hear back from the city about which streets we can actually close," he said.
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