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Would a New Farmers' Market Layout Share the Wealth?

Campbell downtown businesses, city and Urban Village Farmers' Market Association come together to discuss.

The Sunday Farmers' Market; a racetrack versus blockade-style configuration; all this and the idea of equal visibility are items to be discussed between the city of Campbell, the Downtown Campbell Business Association and Urban Village Farmers' Market Association.

The DCBA first at a city council meeting on March 20. Several business owners shared their concerns as well as their desire for some kind of format change to the popular Sunday farmers' market.

"Having a farmers market has helped our downtown grow and we appreciate it, but the configuration of it has had a detrimental effect on our business," said , DCBA member and downtown Campbell business owner.

Many expressed frustration on the lack of visibility they received from the current market layout: where booths have their backs to businesses and market-goers walk through the center.

The DCBA prefers something resembling a racetrack format, where booths are lined, back-to-back down the center of Campbell Avenue so that downtown businesses are visible to market-goers.

The city agreed to offer up a subcommittee meeting on April 18, and bringing all parties together to see what could be worked out.

"We hope to have our voices heard and we hope to come to an agreement with the city and with the Farmers Market organizers (Urban Village)," said Sonya Paz, DCBA President.

Campbell Community Development Director Kirk Heinrichs said in an email that this meeting would be an opportunity to "fact find."

"The city hopes to understand the concerns of the DCBA and what they hope to accomplish with a different market layout," Heinrichs said. "Also to hear from Urban Village as to what they have done to address the DCBAs concerns, what additional measures Urban Village is willing to take to provide more visibility for merchants and to hear why Urban Village is reluctant to go to a 'race track' format."

The Campbell Farmers' Market on Sundays, run by Urban Village Farmers' Market Association, has been a downtown Campbell staple for the last 14 years.

Urban Village Executive Director Ron Pardini said that although the association has made changes to attempt to address the business' concerns, a racetrack layout is something that has not worked in the past.

"We have developed and will propose a good plan that we feel will be a win/win/win situation for the merchants, the community and the farmers' market," Pardini said in an email. "We will do everything we can to try and improve their experience and bottom line results from the farmers market and continue to work with them so they can also enjoy the success of this great institution."

Follow the development of this story this week and read about the history of the farmers' market in downtown Campbell, each of the involved parties' arguments for/against the change and the Bay Area community that successfully changed their market's configuration.

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