Amy Cunningham
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After spending the 2010 season off the beaten path, the Gardner Farmer’s Market hopes to move back near its roots this summer.

“We’re hoping to be able to get back downtown this year, that’s our goal,” said Melanie Gieringer a representative of the Market.

For its first run in 2009, the market was located in the parking lot of the Sawyer Building at the corner of Main and North Sycamore Streets.  Last year the group moved over to the TradeNet parking lot on Santa Fe Street– doing so allotted vendors more space, but far less visibility.

“Last year we didn’t have the option to close (Sycamore) Street again…and we had (customers) that wanted more and more variety, so space was one of our reasons for moving,” Gieringer explained. “When we got out (to Santa Fe Street) we had more space and we had more variety and more vendors, but we couldn’t get more people out there for various reasons – road construction and our visibility wasn’t the greatest.”

This year the group would like to move to a location just across Sycamore Street from their original market.

Larry Alsup, owner of the building at 318 East Main has offered to let the Market operate on the grassy vacant lot located just west of his building. The group has applied for a special use permit from the city to make their move official.

Gieringer said if the group is not granted their permit they will most likely be forced to disband the market.

“We really need to be able to get back downtown.  We’re more visible downtown and we’ll get so many more people down there,” she stated.  “We’re an all volunteer group, so we need that visibility.”

She hopes to have the spot secured for an end of June opening weekend.  The Farmer’s Market will operate on Thursday afternoons from 4 to 7 p.m.  Gieringer said the new location would offer customers plenty of space for parking, both at the Sawyer Building and at Alsup’s building.