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Overland Park approves $34 million plan to update farmers market

Monday’s approval comes after roughly 7 years of discussion
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Posted at 5:49 PM, Jul 03, 2024

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — The city of Overland Park approved a plan Monday that will upgrade the downtown farmers market location. The $33.9 million project sets out to improve the market and create a gathering space in the area.

Discussions on whether to relocate or upgrade the farmers market facility began in 2017.

The approved plan calls for replacing the pavilion at 7950 Marty Street with a permanent building to house an indoor market. The city also plans to improve outdoor market areas.

GALLERY | Renderings of Overland Park's approved farmers market renovation plan

Most of the improvements focus on user experience, like adding restrooms, making the area more accessible and increasing cohesiveness between the market facility and the city’s iconic clock tower landmark.

“The hope is that over the long-term, people are here for the market, they’re here for other events and they see downtown as a place to gather with family and friends,” said Meg Ralph, the city’s communications director.

Meg Ralph

Not every council member approved the plan, though. Jeff Cox called it an expensive solution to a problem that doesn’t exist.

He pointed out the Overland Park Farmers’ Market has won multiple awards.

“This is just something they want to do because it’s cool and exciting and they can put their name on it that they accomplished it,” Cox said Monday.

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Jeff Cox

Shoppers at Wednesday’s market were thankful for the city’s reinvestment in the market facility, which was built in the 1990s.

“If you keep things the way they are, you’re never going to progress,” said shopper Shane Eagan. “You gotta make the investment to continue to have people come out here and support the farmers market. If you’re not doing anything, then you’re just going to decline.”

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Shane Eagan

Vendor Ryan Eddinger, of Two Sisters Farm, is looking forward to the new market. He sells vegetables from his hydroponic farm all year long and is excited about the possibility of having a heated, indoor facility during the winter.

“I’m particularly excited about having the possibility of an indoor space even modestly heated for us to keep doing our thing and bringing local products to the market through the winter,” he said.

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Ryan Eddinger

Ralph said demolition will begin in December once the farmers market season — which runs on select Wednesdays and Saturdays from April through November — wraps up.

The 2025 market will take place in the parking lot of the Matt Ross Community Center. The new facility should open in the spring of 2026.

Farmers Market Improvement Project Concept Renderings July 2024 PAVILION-ENTRY2.jpg
Overland Park Farmers’ Market project

Ralph said the city is exploring options for paying for the project, but it will pay for the project over several years.

Cities in the KC metropolitan area like Lee's Summit, Independence and Lenexa have recently invested in their farmers market facilities as well.