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Town applies for grant to help fund farmers market at former gas station

Plans for the farmers market to set up a year-round retail location at the former Exxon gas station located on Boone Street continue to move forward.
Earlier this month, the Jonesborough Board of Mayor and Aldermen authorized staff to start working on the possible partnership with the farmers market and the town, which owns the building, to establish the six-day-a-week market.
“We have submitted a grant request with the state Department of Agriculture to see if any funding sources might be available for renovating the building for use as a farmers market,” Mayor Kelly Wolfe said late last week.
The grant application followed a visit last month with Tennessee Commissioner of Agriculture Julius Johnson. Town employee Dale Ford, a former state representative, and Town attorney Jim Wheeler spoke with Johnson about the possible project during his visit to Washington County on Feb. 27.
“By all accounts, that went very well,” Wolfe said. “I think they’ll give our project all due consideration.”
Still, it is unlikely such a store will be seen at the old gas station any time soon.
“We don’t know a time frame on when we’ll hear about the grant,” Wolfe said. “Best case scenario, we’re looking at it opening at the same time as the 2014 farmers market season.”
In the meantime, Wolfe said leaders will spend this year developing and implementing concrete plans for the project.
Currently, crews are working to remove parts of the gas tanks still located underground at the site. Washington County Commissioner Gearld Sparks, who is certified in monitoring the removal of such gas tanks, has volunteered to serve as foreman for the project, which is being overseen by the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation.