WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — The heated debate between Downtown Wichita Falls Development and the Farmers Market Association only continued at the Tuesday City Council meeting.
At the Tuesday, August 2 City Council meeting, community members brought up the issue of Downtown Development not renewing the Farmers Market’s lease with the Wichita Falls Farmers Market Association.
“We’ve been leasing from Downtown Development for the last year, and we took over from them in order to control our own future and destiny, so we’ve been doing very well with our marketing campaigns and promoting vendors, and we’ve grown from about 20 to 60-80 vendors on a Saturday,” Farmers Market Association President Scott Poenitzsch said.
Many market vendors came to express how vital the Farmers’ Market is and what it means to their livelihood, as well as the culture of Wichita Falls.
“There’s so much started right there at that building, and that building means so much to us and has been around for decades, and we need to continue to utilize it,” longtime vendor Ruthie Turnbo said.
Some Farmers Market Association members said in order to keep the tradition, they would like to see the F.M.A. just buy the building.
“When you get evicted from a home, what do you do? You go out and buy another home,” Turnbo said. “This is our way of taking out the middle man, which is Downtown Development.”
Farmers are able to rent booths for $20, and others such as crafters and artists must pay $25. As of now, the City receives 50% of that.
The F.M.A. president said the City is just asking for too much money for the space.
“We were going to try to negotiate, and we did meet an impasse, and they have evicted us for the moment,” Poenitzsch said. “We have found nine other locations, we are sorting them out.”
Now, this end of lease does not mean downtown Farmers Market days are over. The City of Wichita Falls is still welcoming vendors and the community to attend.