The Independence Farmers Market has received a formal go-ahead.
The City Council on Monday approved the $3.353 million project Monday, and city officials still aim to have the facility open and ready to use for the Santa-Cali-Gon Days Festival in September. It will be on the city-owned parking lot off Truman Road between Liberty and Osage streets.
The contract with McGownGordon Construction is for $2,997,445, plus nearly $291,000 in contingency funds and $49,800 in previously approved preconstruction services and design. The city has more than $800,000 in grants, tax credits and private funding slated for the Farmers Market and will use an interfund loan of more than $2.5 million to complete financing. Donations beyond budget projections will go toward offsetting loan payments.
The facility will have an enclosed pavilion that could rented out year-round and a standalone open-air pavilion on the west side.
Mayor Eileen Weir thanked the Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Council “for pushing us to do something great.”
“I think we went about this the right way – engaging the community,” she said.
Doug Cowan, president of Community Services League, spoke for Rotary and said that latter organization has raised $296,000 in donations for the Farmers Market and aims to raise $300,000 – Rotary's biggest commitment for something. The city's project budget accounted for one-third of that.
Cowan called the project a “bold, innovative move.”
Other citizen leaders who spoke to the council before Monday's vote noted what they believe will be the facility's anticipated appeal as a community gathering space.
The 15-year interfund loan will go from the Water fund to the Parks/Recreation Sales Tax fund at a 2.5 percent interest rate. According to city documents, officials believe the city will save about $800,000 compared to bonding out the $2.5 million over 20 years and generate about $138,000 more than traditional municipal investment.
A groundbreaking date is expected to be finalized soon.
Also on Monday:
• The council recognized Tuesday's 175th anniversary of the Independence Fire Department. The department plans to have a formal celebration in the summer.
Recently promoted Fire Chief Doug Short said the anniversary represents “175 years of dedication of firefighters who serve the public and the citizens of Independence.”
• The council also approved a contract with The Wilson Group for $63,453 to repair the damaged Noland Road retaining wall alongside the Central Police Building, something Weir said the city had become “embarrassed” by.