City Projects Threaten 100 Year Old Farmers’ Market

By: Emily Morris

Development in Royal Oak may cause the demise of our almost 100 year old weekly Farmers’ Market. To allow room for a $58 million Henry Ford outpatient center, the city has decided to compromise 175 parking spaces that the market place originally utilized. There will also be diminishing parking surrounding the area as the total of lost parking spaces in downtown Royal Oak is 400 (Detroit News).  

The mayor called the concern about the Farmer’s Market “rumors” because it is such a key business factor for the city, and there are plans to construct a new parking structure by June, adding 585 spots. So that would actually create an increase of 185 spots, factoring in the removal of 400, but the outpatient center will need parking, as well (Detroit News).

Aside from customers, vendors are unsure if they will stick around either. The cost of leasing a spot at the Farmers’ Market is close to $6,000 every year, and the investment has to be worth it for the vendors. Denise Prielipp  spoke to Detroit News about her concerns.  

“[The lease] is higher than most markets, and we may have to move elsewhere,” Prielipp said. “We like the market and the customers have been good for us. But if they stop coming … This is our job. This is our paycheck.”

After conducting a random survey Saturday Detroit News reported that 74 percent of customers would either be “unlikely” or “very unlikely” to use a shuttle to access the market. People have enjoyed easy access to the market for almost a century, and that is something most do not want to see go away.

One shopper, Mary Fairfield, that Detroit News spoke to could not imagine a change a in parking altering the attendance of the market. She goes to the Farmer’s Market every Saturday and does not plan to stop, and she implied other customers would feel the same.

Fairfield said, “People would be lying down the ground outside before they would let anything happen to [the Farmers’ Market].”

This is a bold statement but also an encouraging one for the market. The city does value the history of the market though so only time will tell the impact of parking.

Featured Photo: Pure Michigan