Editor: This petition resulted from a decision by City Council to reposition the popular farmer’s market without any public input. Even if temporary, it provoked a petition in response that already has over 3,000 signatures. It is to be discussed at the next City Council meeting on September 4.
At the August 21st meeting of the Vero Beach City Council, a decision was made to remove the Farmer’s Market from the parking lot where it has been located on Ocean Drive for the past ten years. The reasoning for this is that the market exacerbates the parking problems along Ocean Drive during the two-hour overlap when the market is open (Every Saturday from 8-noon) and when the businesses open along Ocean Drive (from 10am on). Therefore, it has been decided that the market will be allowed to operate in Humiston Park only.
This one decision creates a series of issues, not just for the market, but for our community as a whole. The direct impact to the market is the market regularly operates with 60 vendors in season, and the park can only accommodate 36 booths along the sidewalk.
This decision by City Council has not taken into consideration the trickle down effect of minimizing the market. Aside from impacting the personal incomes of 24 small businesses and farmers, most of whom are Vero Beach locals, and reducing the diversity of products available to locals and visitors who attend the market; as the main income stream for the Oceanside Business Association, this decision impacts not only the market, but the events and quality of life that it goes to support.
The income from the farmer’s market goes to support the cost of other OBA events and projects that contribute to the unique charm and beauty of our small town beach and island community. The Sunset Saturday Free Concert Series held monthly and the Annual Vero Beach Christmas Parade are both supported by income from the market. The market also pays for the beautification projects such as the banners, flower planters and directional signage on Beachland, Ocean and Cardinal Drive. In addition, due to the income from the farmers market, the OBA is able to pay for and advertise the coordinated Sidewalk Sale Retail Events twice a year that multiple retailers on the Oceanside love and participate in.
All of these events benefit local hotels and real estate companies who rely on the small town charm of Vero Beach in order to promote tourism and the growth of the housing market within our community. The larger majority of local retailers and restaurants who receive traffic from the market and hotel guests could also be affected by this decision.
In 2016, The Vero Beach Farmer’s Market was listed in Clean Eats Magazine as number 11 of the TOP 50 farmer’s markets to attend – NATIONWIDE. “Set on a beach on the Atlantic Coast of Florida, Farmers’ Market Oceanside has one of the best backdrops imaginable for a producer’s market… Locals and visitors alike flock to this small but vibrant, pet-friendly market for great foods plus a day at the beach.”
The OBA understands that while a small handful of businesses have complained about the exacerbation of parking issues along Ocean Drive, the parking issues go much deeper. These issues will not be magically resolved by minimizing or reducing the farmer’s market’s 2-hour weekly impact on parking. Instead, this decision impacts our entire Vero Beach area, and we are asking for your support to help us maintain our beautiful Saturday morning market tradition that acts as a gathering place for our community and allows us to continue to provide beautiful experiences throughout the year for our residents and guests alike.
To view the actual petition, continue reading…