Overland Park staff to formally recommend against relocating Farmers Market to Santa Fe Commons

City staff are recommending that the Overland Park Farmers Market stays put.

Overland Park staff next week will make a formal recommendation to the city’s Community Development Committee on a conceptual design plan for Santa Fe Commons that will not include relocation of the Farmers Market from its current site.

The potential relocation of the Farmers Market to Santa Fe Commons has been under consideration for months, with consultants hired by the city to look into ways to improve market operations laying out a number of benefits to the idea. But the prospect proved divisive among residents, with many saying it would eat into precious green space in Santa Fe Commons.

In a staff comments memo included in the agenda for the Sept. 5 Community Development Committee released today, city staff said they were recommending the conceptual plan for the park called “Park Stroll” that includes an airplane-shaped performance venue, shelters and a natural play area — and plenty of green space.

Here’s a rendering of that concept:

The memo details a number of reasons staff were recommending against relocation of the Farmers Market:

Some of the reasons the committee decided not to recommend plans to incorporate the Farmers’ Market into the park redesign included:

  • Moving the market to the park was not supported by a majority of neighbors and other members of the public at any of the public feedback sessions.
  • Moving the market to the park requires a large footprint that would, by necessity, reduce desirable green space.
  • Keeping the Farmers’ Market in its current location provides consistency for vendors, shoppers, and downtown merchants alike while honoring the 36 years of history in this spot. Additionally, there is anecdotal evidence that the success of markets can be diminished by similar moves to a new location.
  • A Scale of structure of the market does not fit the park and could be overbearing.
  • A large market footprint would have limited use. The current market operates 2 days/week.
  • The acquisition of the carwash property provides a better means of expanding the market without moving from its current successful location.
  • Market parking will likely impact the neighborhood and as an undesirable effect noted by the residents.
  • The Farmers’ Market study recommendation was to evaluate the market moving to the park as one of four ideas. After evaluation, the Santa Fe Commons Park steering committee recommends the Farmers’ Market remain at its current site.

You can read the full memo here.

The committee is expected to vote on the recommendation, which would then be forwarded to the full city council for approval.

The total project cost for the upgrades to Santa Fe Trail Park are expected to be just over $3 million. The city plans to rename the park Thompson Park after the renovations are completed in recognition of a planned $1 million gift toward the project from retired businessman Frank Thompson and his wife, Evangeline.