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City OKs Farmers Market lease

ALPENA — The Alpena Municipal Council voted 5-0 on Tuesday to allow the Alpena Farmers Market to utilize and manage a city-owned building at Mich-e-ke-wis Park.

Farmers Market will pay the city $400 a month to use the building twice a week. The group also will maintain the building and grounds where the market operates.

The contract runs through Dec. 31, 2025, but there is an out clause through which both parties can exit the agreement with 30 days’ written notice with cause and a minimum 90 days advance notice without cause.

The Farmers Market’s payment will increase each year by 2% or the rate of inflation, whichever is less.

The city will continue to manage other rentals at the building.

For years, Farmers Market utilized the parking lot at City Hall to set up its vendors, but moved to the park in 2017. It also set up shop at the Alpena Mall on Saturdays during colder months of the year.

Farmers Market President J.B. Cook said that, since the market moved from City Hall to the beach, it has grown in the number of vendors who participate and customers who shop.

Cook said the change of location has provided a boost to the market, and he expects more growth is ahead.

“It’s great being next to the water, where there is more traffic, and people can see us from the road,” he said. “We also have the surrounding parks and splash pad that bring people in from out of the area that come to the market.”

The city will allow the Farmers Market to use the office space in the building, which Cook says is needed because of the many food and educational programs the group offers. He said the programs require a lot of logistics and data entry, so having a dedicated office will help things run more efficiently.

The office will be shared by others who rent the facility and need to access it.

Cook said the size of the building will allow between 20 and 25 vendors, with scaled back displays, during the cold weather months. During the summer months, as many as 35 to 40 vendors generally set up outdoors, Cook said.

The terms of the new agreement have already been approved by the Farmers Market board, Cook said.

Previously, the facility was home to the Performance Locker, which has closed.

The market is currently open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays indoors at Mich-e-ke-wis.

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