Batavia bids an early adieu to another of its downtown amenities. Last week, the city announced the closure of the spray park two weeks early due to mechanical problems. Today, the Daily News tells us that the downtown public market is closed for the season, several months early—it was supposed to run through October 11.
Business Improvement District (BID) Manager Don Burkel said the decision was made Friday due to "a shortage of vendors and the lack of community support." The market that opened in late June ran from 9:00am to 2:00pm Saturdays in the parking lot at Ellicott and Jackson streets. On opening day there were maybe 10 vendors total. Lorraine Schaub said she was one of only three vendors when she showed up for the market most days. Schaub owns Cookies & Milk inside the mall. She blamed Burkel and the BID for the poor support, citing a lack of planning and promotion.
Says Schaub: "I don't think they worked on it ahead of time. It's a good thing we had tents; otherwise nobody would've known we were there."
Another vendor, Joan Shuknecht, owner of Ole Barn Country Market of Elba, said the BID did a fine job of promoting the market. She said she was doing well at the market though she could have done better. That sentiment is contrasted with Shuknecht saying elsewhere that during the Summer in the City festival she had to throw out 10 crates of produce because of a lack of sales, in part due to a lack of access to the market because of all the efforts concentrated on Summer in the City. She then told Burkel she would not be returning to the market.
We have not yet been able to reach Burkel for further comment, though he told the Daily News that he is not sure the BID will again support the market in 2009.
In other news:
- Area farmers assessed the damage from this summer's repeated hailstorms and found a beaten crop: whole fields of tomatoes and cucumbers wiped out, apples dented and bruised. They will seek additional federal disaster aid. Check out the extensive article by Tom Rivers for more details. One aspect of the issue not dealt with in much detail that would be interesting to hear more about is the affect the loss of so much produce will have on the market. Will it be strictly local? Will the local market not be affected at all?
- Batavia Downs hosted its fourth annual wiener dog races Sunday. Defending champion, Rudy, owned by Ann Schiller of Lancaster, won his first heat but came in second in the finals to Bambi, owned by Grace De Valder of Bergen.
As always, we encourage you to get out and pick up a copy of the Daily News at local newsstands. Or, better yet, subscribe at BataviaNews.com.