A nonprofit group that promotes downtown Franklin activities and events wants the city to help build a facility to house a farmers market.
On Saturday mornings from late spring through early fall, Discover Downtown Franklin hosts a farmers market, an event that has steadily grown in popularity since it began, executive director Megan Sweany said.
But the organization can’t afford to build and maintain a facility and is asking the city for help.
The group’s leaders want the city redevelopment commission to help pay for construction and the parks department to help maintain the facility, which would include restrooms, said Marty Williams, president of Discover Downtown Franklin.
The facility would have an open design and during the day could be used as covered parking, Sweany said.
Discover Downtown Franklin wants to keep the farmers market in its current location, at Jefferson and Jackson streets, on land the city owns that used to be the parking lot for the now-razed Oren Wright building.
Officials don’t yet know how much the facility would cost and are in the beginning stages of planning, Williams said.
The goal is to develop a proposal for funding and assistance and present that to city boards in the coming weeks, Williams and Sweany said.
A facility would be based on similar ones in other communities across the country, which typically are an open pavilion with restrooms, said Krista Linke, director of the city planning department, who also is involved in the downtown agency.
In addition to housing the farmers market, the facility could be rented out by the parks department for events including weddings and family reunions, Linke said.
A sketch plan drawn up for the facility also shows an amphitheater on the property, but those ideas are preliminary, Linke said.
Members of the city council and redevelopment commission said they liked the idea of a permanent facility and wanted to see the farmers market continue to grow but wanted more information about the plans and the cost.
Mayor Joe McGuinness said he also liked the idea of having a public restroom downtown but would want to know more about how much maintenance would be required by the parks department.