Saturday, January 07, 2017
George Gardner's St. Augustine Report
Beach Wednesday Farmers
Market may be shut down
The popular Wednesday Farmers Market at St. Augustine Pier is likely in its last days after nearly ten years of operation through a contract between the St. Augustine Beach Civic Association and the county.
"As you are aware, the landscape of St. Johns County has changed dramatically since the inception of the Farmers Market at this location," County Administrator Michael Wanchick wrote in response to a request by Association President Bill Jones for a five year extension.
"Today, the County is confronted with a significant increase in the number of residents and visitors who desire to park at Pier Park throughout the day and evening hours. Allowing special events to utilize this limited beach front parking has resulted in complaints questioning why the County is permitting special activities in this location at the expense of beach parking which is acknowledged to be in short supply."
St. Augustine Beach Mayor Rich O'Brien says, "I plan to write to Mr. Wanchick to re-consider as the few hours Pier Park is used contributes to our City economy, provides funds for the concert series and certainly contributes to the quality of life for residents and visitors alike."
The current contract expires in July, and the final decision on extension rests with the County Commission, but Wanchick concludes, "After careful consideration, we are unable to recommend that the County Commission approve a five-year extension of the existing agreement."