Thursday, June 22, 2017

St. Johns County Commission OKs new direction for farmers’ market at amphitheater (SAR)

Your five St. Johns County Commissioners did not discuss the new contract before approving it as part of the consent agenda, despite more than a dozen people speaking out about the contract and asking questions.

To add insult to injury, County Administrator MICHAEL DAVID WANCHICK waited until after 5 PM, long after people had departed, to talk about the future of the arrogance.

What a Putin-like poohbah, the alter ego of egotistical Sheriff DAVID SHOAR, f/k/a "HOAR." Color him gone -- he cannot sustain scrutiny.

Posted June 22, 2017 12:02 am
St. Johns County Commission OKs new direction for farmers’ market at amphitheatre

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CHRISTINA.KELSO@STAUGUSTINE.COM Lesha Corrigan of Frog Song Organics sells produce to shopper Toby Giallucka at the Old City Farmers Market in the St. Augustine Amphitheatre on Saturday, May 27, 2017. Based in Hawthorne, the farm has sold at the market for five years.

More than a dozen people spoke at Tuesday’s meeting of the St. Johns County Commission either in support of the Old City Farmers’ Market at the St. Augustine Amphitheatre, as it is currently operated, or warning the county against over-manipulation of the venue.

The county put out a request for proposals for management of the market in April. Six applicants submitted proposals before the deadline this month, but current managers Brian and Carey del Ray were not among them. The current contract, effective Aug. 1, 2007, expires July 31.

Vendors on Tuesday questioned the feasibility of requiring more food vendors and less arts and crafts vendors under a future agreement. Some long-time vendors, including the del Rays, said they already tried creating a more food-centric market at its start, but, over time, the realities called for more arts and crafts products for visitors looking for souvenirs and gifts to take home with them.

They argued the local market for fresh produce just isn’t strong enough on its own to sustain the type of venue the county is pushing.

“Things that don’t work rarely last this long,” one vendor said. “The market has been good for us and we have been good for the market.”

Carey del Ray said she and her husband were never asked for their opinions but that she “didn’t want to start a war” over it. She said she understands the desire for a “true farmers’ market” but also told commissioners up to 145 families could be affected by the changes if the percentages hold.

Nonetheless, commissioners on Tuesday approved entering into negotiations, and, eventually, a contract with Kathyrn H. Provow LLC, the top-ranked bidder, for management of the market. The item remained on the consent agenda and passed without discussion among the board members.

Later, during closing comments, County Administrator Michael Wanchick said amphitheatre management was concerned the venue was shifting from a farmers’ market to a flea market. He said the end goal was to “infuse” the market not only with fresh food and prepared food, but with some educational and entertainment components, as well.

“If we get too many of one or not enough of another, they can change that percentage mix up,” Wanchick said, adding the county has the right of approval.

He said the amphitheatre only wants to retain some quality and control over the venue and that the changes don’t mean the market is going away.

“We are not going to change the farmers’ market,” he told commissioners. “It’s highly regarded; people enjoy it. I think as the one farmer said this morning, ‘If you get too much of one thing it hurts everybody.’ So, there’s an equitable balance that you want to get there and these guys are all over it.”

For more information on the possible changes as well as the contents of the winning bid, see the May 30 edition of The Record, or go to

Wanchick also brought up the ongoing discussion over the fate of the Wednesday farmers’ markets in St. Augustine Beach. The market is held in the parking lot at Pier Park, owned by the county.

He said it’s been more than a month since he sent a letter to St. Augustine Beach “offering the city the opportunity to take over the parking lot so that they can manage that area any way they see fit.” He said he’s yet to hear any response.

“That contract is timing out,” Wanchick said. “Our offer to relocate them, if they want to, is still on the table, as far as administration is concerned.”

The contract for the Wednesday market was due to expire in July, but Wanchick in February granted an extension through the end of the year to allow some time for an agreement to be reached among the involved parties.

Wanchick said the market could “very easily” go to the same location as the Saturday market at the amphitheatre, just on Wednesdays, but said, again, that he’s yet to hear from the city.

“I don’t want anybody coming in at the last moment and saying we didn’t tell them,” Wanchick said.

The subject of the beach possibly taking over the property did come up in a joint meeting between the county and the city in May. During that meeting, Wanchick said he and Beach City Manager Max Royle were already talking about transferring the title for Pier Park over to the city. Wanchick also said that would be done with the understanding the parking lot would stay a parking lot and that the county would maintain responsibility for the pier itself.

The issue of ownership of Pier Park also extends well beyond the Wednesday market and into issues related to parking, accessibility and the bulging costs of maintaining the beaches.


Tom Reynolds
To turn over the Pier Parking lot to the City of St Augustine Beach or turn over anything to St Augustine Beach would be a HUGE mistake. The City of St Augustine Beach CAN NOT MANAGE the 1.87 square miles they have already. There are people who want to dissolve the City for POOR Management and all the Corruption and Unethical Conduct that is going on now.

The City of St Augustine Beach Management has destroyed Public Records (a crime), a Building Official three jobs just came to light, a sexual harassment cover-up, the Mayor s property fiasco, the Mayor s resent fine by the Election Commission, the sneaky Health Insurance fiasco, cash missing from the 2016 Beach Blast, Public Works Department recently got caught charging only 41 cents a week for trash pick-up for Commercial service, and that is just some of the stuff going on here in Dysfunction Junction !

PLEASE COUNTY COMMISSIONERS...............................................................


Which commissioners voted for this?

Tom Reynolds
all on the Fm
none on the turn over


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I agree with the County...get more food products in there vs tacky crappy junky trinkets.

Oh please...sure maybe there isn't a ton of fresh produce ( oh wait ..yes there the heck do you think all the local produce stands stay in business...oh yeah...right...they sell PRODUCE)

Then there is the great potential to have more handcrafted food service. I am so tired of folks whining every time there is "change"..or against the County..which seems almost instinctive and knee jerk.

This is a good thing...get over it.