The consultant hired by the city of Overland Park to explore options for the future of the downtown farmers market presented the city’s community development committee this week with four concepts that would allow for better pedestrian access, more uses and additional amenities.
The current market, which has operated on the same site since 1982, presents a handful of challenges primarily related to the sloping of the surface from Santa Fe Drive down to Marty. Drainage issues lead to streams and flooding, and rain penetrates the structure fairly regularly. The market has also simply outgrown its current space, which has 54 vendor stalls. Consultants estimate that demand exists for around another dozen stalls. Moreover, the city believes an opportunity exists for the farmers market structure to become a space for events like weddings and corporate parties.
The consultant proposes four possible options for the future of the facility:
- Upgrading the existing facility to improve drainage, add electricity, install rain and wind prevention structures, painting, and adding wifi access. This would be the least expensive option at around $250,000, and would allow for continuous operation at the site.
- Rebuilding the farmers market on the current site with a split level garage. This would have the advantages of creating a completely flat market space and would greatly increase the supply of on-site parking, from the current 166 to 307. It would be the most expensive option at $17 million, and would require the market to temporarily relocate to a different space for a relatively long period. Here are two renderings developed by the consultant of what that concept might look like:
- Rebuilding the farmers market on the current site, but reconfigured to have the shed run along Marty Street. This would be a mid-range option that would cost around $6 million. It would reduce, but not eliminate the slope of the site, would add retail space along the Marty streetfront, and would increase the number of vendor stalls to 72. It would also reduce the inventory of on-site parking to 139 spaces. Here’s a rendering of that concept:
- Relocating the farmers market to Santa Fe Commons, a couple blocks to the south of the current site. The relocation would allow the market to have 66 stalls on a flat site and would provide the best options for creating associated event spaces. The cost would be around $5 million. Here’s a look at what that project might look like:
The city will host a community meeting to get public feedback on the proposals sometime next month. (We’ll post details when they’re finalized).
The city approved a budget of $60,000 in city funds to be spent on the study for the famers market last December. A matching grant from the Kansas Department of Transportation through the Mid-America Regional Council provided an additional $60,000 for the study.