Saturday’s Downtown Fall Festival featured the Sun Prairie Farmers Market around Cannery Square.
Judging by the public reception for the market being there, we think it’s time to make a move from the market’s current location in the Sun Prairie Municipal Building Parking Lot to Cannery Square.
Here’s our Top 5 Reasons to move the Sun Prairie Farmers Market to Cannery Square:
5. Access -- From a brief view of the customers, as well as talking with some at the market, it seems that more people were able to access the market because it was located around the square. They used the Sun Prairie Municipal Building Parking Lot to park their vehicle and walked to the square, and easily walked around the square to peruse the vendors (and sample the pie).
4. Change is good -- The market’s current location shows its vendors are willing to change for the better.
3. It’s better for Downtown Sun Prairie -- While Market Street and a portion of Cannery Place were blocked off and no parking allowed from 7 a.m.-noon, people who left the market with their goods in hand also walked along Main Street to see other open businesses and the assembled scarecrows in downtown Sun Prairie.
More pedestrian traffic on Saturday mornings translates to more commerce for downtown businesses -- and the last time we checked, that’s a good thing.
2. A built-in customer base -- Opening vendor spaces below about 300 apartments in the vicinity of Cannery Square gives the Sun Prairie Farmers Market vendors a built-in customer base.
That base isn’t there when the market is moved behind the Municipal Building, where single family homes are located.
1. Visibility -- People driving by Cannery Square on Saturday morning couldn’t miss the market or that something was happening in the square.
We’d even guess that more people saw the market in session on Saturday just be driving by it, than have ever seen it behind the municipal building.
Don’t misunderstand: we support the Sun Prairie Farmers Market, regardless of where they want to locate.
But with the weather conditions favorable on Saturday, and the events timed to coincide with the end of the market in Cannery Square, to us it seemed like that’s exactly why that space was designed. And, that the square was finally being used for its intended purpose.
Yes, it might limit the number of vendor spaces available, which might limit the growth of the market. But, perhaps Market Street could be opened all the way to Lane Street to afford more vendor spaces.
Perhaps the most critical aspect of moving the market to Cannery Square is that it gives the city flexibility to consider a parking structure behind the municipal building.
That structure would help protect city vehicles (including police squad cars) from the elements, give city employees a safe and dry place to park and provide more parking for shoppers to patronize downtown businesses.
But with a commitment to the market to allow the weekly market to locate in the municipal building parking lot, construction of a structure behind the municipal building would be difficult.
We hope the market considers a move for the health of the market and all businesses downtown.