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$3.3 million Independence Farmers Market project moving forward

Posted at 11:10 AM, Feb 08, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-08 18:16:34-05

INDEPENDENCE, Mo. — The city of Independence is taking the next steps towards opening a new farmers market.

On Monday, the Independence City Council approved the $3.3 million project.

"It's really looking towards the future of the city," said Meg Lewis, City of Independence spokeswoman. 

Construction includes an enclosed farmers market pavilion and a stand-alone open-air pavilion on the west side of the parking lot located on Truman Road between Osage and Liberty. The city will use a combination of grants and private funds to support the project.

“We listened to citizens, farmers and business owners. This permanent farmers market will allow us to offer not only a venue for local farmers and crafters but a new opportunity for regional events, celebrations and more,” Mayor Eileen Weir said. “With the help of organizations like the Independence Rotary Club and the Truman Heartland Community Foundation we are able to work with the community to bring public and private funds together for the future of our City.”

The City is looking outside of traditional funding models to save taxpayer money on this project. An interfund loan from the Water Fund to the Parks/Recreation Sales Tax Fund will save the city an estimated $800,000 compared to a 20-year bond. It will also generate an estimated $138,000 in additional interest for the Water Fund over the 15-year life of the interfund loan. This will not impact utility bills for any city customers. Further, the city has identified a minimum of $815,000 in grants or private funds to support the project.

“We recognize the challenging financial times facing many municipalities and we want Independence residents to know this project is not one we enter into lightly,” City Manager Zach Walker said. “Our first and biggest responsibility is to responsibly manage taxpayer dollars. This project is the result of community leaders, department heads and city officials working together to think outside of the box as we look to our city’s future.”

The Independence Rotary Club is holding a Mardi Gras fundraiser on Feb. 17. In June 2017, the club set a goal of $100,000.

"I can say that we have well exceeded that goal," said Ilene Shehan, Independence Rotary Club president. 

All proceeds will be donated toward the project. In recognition of their work and commitment, a Rotary Plaza has been incorporated into the final design.

The city plans to break ground on the new Farmers Market by the end of the month. It is scheduled to open Labor Day weekend.