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Jonesborough approves Farmers Market expansion

A proposed partnership between the Town of Jonesborough and the Jonesborough Farmers Market, Jonesborough Locally Grown, was approved by the members of the Board of Mayor and Aldermen Nov. 11.
The BMA asked that a lease be made available for them to review at their December meeting.
“I think this is exactly the kind of economic development the Town of Jonesborough needs to be doing,” Mayor Kelly Wolfe said.
The town has purchased the former Exxon gas station on the corner of Main and Boone streets. The pedestrian area in front of and around the building has been improved, according to Wolfe, and additional parking spaces were made available, as well as a crosswalk.
The Boone Street Market will have a year-round operation Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday from 12:30 to 5 p.m.
“There are a lot of good reasons why we should pursue a partnership,” Wolfe said.
He said the market would aid folks who are struggling to find part-time employees to help them sell their produce.
“They are very excited about the possibility of retail for manpower issues and to sell their locally grown vegetables,” Wolfe said.
The market would also bring people downtown with their pocketbooks to shop at one business, which will provide them the opportunity to sprinkle their money along the way at other businesses, he added.
The market also hopes to increase sales opportunities for local farmers, as well as add value to their product by offering them a commercial kitchen.
The topic of grant funding was also discussed during the meeting as a way to help offset the cost of some of the capital improvements the building needs, which is estimated at roughly $142,000.
Town Administrator Bob Browning said if the grants, Rural Development or USDA do not come through, another funding source will be found. He said the group already has fundraising activities scheduled to raise money.
In order to help the project get off the ground, Wolfe discussed the possibility of having a partnership with the tenant to help them get out of the gate by taking care of the utilities.