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Meeting today regarding proposed market site on Nichols Street
A special presentation by Lovel Pratt and Cathaleen Cavanagh on the proposed permanent farmers market site is scheduled tonight at 6 at Earthbox Hotel conference room, 410 Spring St., Building B, Friday Harbor. Call 378-5240 or visit firstname.lastname@example.org.
The San Juan Agricultural Guild proposes buying the former Friday Harbor Electric site on Nichols Street for a year-round farmers market, as well as other uses — what architect David Waldron calls "part small park and part town square." The San Juan County Land Bank would fund half the purchase; the Ag Guild has asked the town to fund the other half — about $400,000 — using lodging tax funds that are collected for tourism-related facilities.
Nov. 11, the town Lodging Tax Advisory Committee declined to take a stand on the project, but will recommend to the Town Council that criteria and a process be developed by which lodging taxes would be awarded. The town collects two lodging taxes, each 2 percent — one for tourism-related facilities, the other for tourism promotion. The town LTAC has criteria and a process it goes by to award tourism-promotion funds.
The LTAC's concern: That the awarding of tourism-facilities funding be objective and fair, and that any project that applies for funding qualify according to the law: The funds must be used for a tourism-related purpose. Some town officials are concerned that a permanent farmers market will not be considered by the state to be a tourism draw, but believe that a mixed-use site — with performance area and an interpretive center — would.