Opinion

Permanent farmers market site: The other spinoff | Guest Column

While the Nichols Street site is commonly referred to as the ‘permanent farmers market site,’ a farmers market is only one component. The former Friday Harbor Electric site will have green space larger than the Sunken Park lawn, an outdoor performance stage, and an outdoor market area. Architect David Waldron describes it as ‘part small park and part town square.’ This rendering looks at the revitalized site from Sunshine Alley.  - Architect David Waldron
While the Nichols Street site is commonly referred to as the ‘permanent farmers market site,’ a farmers market is only one component. The former Friday Harbor Electric site will have green space larger than the Sunken Park lawn, an outdoor performance stage, and an outdoor market area. Architect David Waldron describes it as ‘part small park and part town square.’ This rendering looks at the revitalized site from Sunshine Alley.
— image credit: Architect David Waldron

By DAVID WALDRON

It is often pointed out that one of the spinoffs from locating the permanent farmers market on Nichols Street will be the rescue and restoration of the last remaining industrial building in Friday Harbor.

There is also another important spinoff: The creation of a Downtown Commons — part small park, and part town square.

The market facility greenspace will be adjacent to the existing shady lawn of Nichols Walk. The two greenspaces combined will be larger than the Sunken Park lawn, and will be as long as the Court Street courthouse lawn (220 feet).

The new greenspace addition will be a 5,000-square-foot sunny lawn which will slope from the outdoor market area to a small outdoor performance stage. The outdoor market area, when not in use as vending stalls, will have a number of picnic tables adjacent to the lawn, with a view of the stage. Other amenities for residents and visitors are being discussed for this multi-use area.

This will be a central civic place in town, ideal for a variety of festivals, music and other outdoor performances, and demonstrations. It will revitalize Friday Harbor’s downtown, as well as the Nichols Street neighborhood.

An opportunity to have such a place in the downtown core will not come again. The Land Bank and the Town have the vision to see the benefits to locals and visitors alike.

This is a cooperative group effort by public and private entities to save an historic building, create downtown open green space and have a permanent home for our farmers market, but in the end the people of Friday Harbor will get a good deal more.

— David Waldron is a member of the town Historic Preservation Review Board. He is an architect hired to help with the Farmers Market Feasibility Study and has been retained by the Ag Guild to design the market.

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