The Harrietstown Town Hall
Members of the Harrietstown Town Board Thursday, Sept. 27 approved the creation of a winter farmers’ market at the Town Hall.
The request was filed by Sam Hendren of the Ausable Valley Grange, which also operates the Saranac Lake Village Farmers’ Market Saturdays in Riverside Park in the spring, summer and fall.
The resolution was brought before the board by members of the town’s Buildings and Grounds Committee: councilmen Ron Keough and Bob Bevilacqua, who is the Republican candidate for town supervisor this fall. The vote was unanimous.
The Ausable Valley Grange will be charged $250 per event to help offset the costs of opening the Town Hall on the weekend.
“That’s based on close-to-actual time for the employees, and they recognized that the employees at the town of Harrietstown probably have a little more expense than that by the time we add the heat and the lights and the hour before and after hours,” Keough said. “And so the town of Harrietstown is working with the Grange to make that happen.”
The farmers’ market will have 10-15 vendors, according to Keough.
If the weather becomes inclement and farmers’ market officials don’t contact the town the night before a canceled event, they will still be charged the $250, according to Keough.
“But their history is, pretty much regardless of weather, they show up and they do their thing,” Keough said.
The idea for the winter farmers’ market was proposed to the Town Board a couple of years ago, but it never materialized.
Enter the Harrietstown supervisor race and the Democratic candidate, Saranac Lake Village Trustee Tom Catillaz. On Sept. 4, Catillaz sent a letter to Town Board members asking them to approve the winter farmers’ market because it would be good for the local economy. He was inspired after talking with Hendren at the Sept. 1 farmers’ market.
“I guess they tried it a year ago and the town was not very receptive to it,” Catillaz said the day before delivering the letter to the Town Hall.
But that’s not how Town Board members remember it, they said after their Sept. 27 meeting.
“We invited them (farmers’ market officials) to come to the Town Hall, and they dropped the ball,” Keough said. “They didn’t want to do it for whatever reason.”
Bevilacqua said he also remembers the proposal.
“I think they filled out the forms, but they never got back to us,” Bevilacqua said. “And that’s as far as it went.”
Bevilacqua and Catillaz both agree that having a winter farmers’ market at the Town Hall would bring more people into town, as it does during the summer. But Bevilacqua also said he wanted to make sure that the small Town Hall maintenance staff could handle the extra events and that the Ausable Valley Grange was charged enough to pay for additional expenses incurred by opening the building on a weekend.