EL farmers market still up in the air

by Emmitt B. Feldner
of The Review staff

ELKHART LAKE – Summer is coming, but it’s still not clear where the Farmers and Artisans Market will be able to set up shop here.

“This is turning into a major issue,” Trustee Richard Sadiq commented during Monday’s Village Board meeting.

The market’s location became an issue when the Wisconsin and Southern Railroad informed the village and the Chamber of Commerce that they did not want vendor stalls for the market set up in the railroad right-of-way in the village square area.

Officials acknowledged that would severely limit the space for the popular weekly event and left them scrambling for alternatives.

Village Administrator/Clerk/ Treasurer Jessica Reilly told the board that officials from the state Department of Transportation that the market could use the area around the depot since there is a fence between the depot platform and the railroad.

She added that another alternative suggested by the chamber was the area around the gazebo in the Village Park next to the Grashorn Municipal Building.

But that drew concern from Trustee Pam Garton.

“If the farmers market is there every weekend, that grass is going to be ruined,” Garton said of the park and the gazebo. “That gazebo is used a lot (by the public) on Saturdays. That has us kind of working at cross purposes.”

She noted that she would be more comfortable with booths being set up on the sidewalk in those areas where the streets are already closed off for the farmers market.

But that drew an objection from Trustee Michael Wolf.

“Sidewalks are sidewalks and you don’t block them,” Wolf stated.

“We can’t make plans for the market ourselves,” Sadiq noted. He suggested that village officials communicate to the chamber what the DOT is telling the village about where the market can and can’t be located.

“Then we tell them (the chamber) you come up with a plan within those parameters,” and present it to the Village Board, Sadiq concluded.

The board approved the purchase of a new set of welcome banners for the village recommended by the Administration and Finance Committee.

Garton showed the trustees an example of the new green, white and blue welcome banners which will feature illustrations representing the four seasons in the village.

“These would be on State 67

(Lincoln Street) all the time,” Garton explained.

The village already has flags and snowflake banners, but those cannot be used on State 67, Garton related. The DOT does not allow banners or signs along state highways that include any red, which the existing signs have.

The new signs are expected to cost between $8,000 and $10,000, depending on how many the village ends up purchasing. Garton said $14,000 was set aside in the 2016 budget for the banners.

A sanitary sewer force main easement for the Wolf development on the village’s south side was approved by the board.

Reilly explained that the plan was originally to put the force main in the State 67 right-of-way, but the DOT turned down that request.

Instead, the easement will go through the Wolf property. Reilly said the easement could serve as a future pathway from the village to the condominium/ car villa development.

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