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Treasure Island fresh market proposal rebuffed

TREASURE ISLAND — Faced with opposition from the Chamber of Commerce and city staff, initial efforts to start a Sunday outdoor market in the city have been rebuffed.

Laura Garrison said her company, which operates a Wednesday market in Madeira Beach, was looking for a "sister market" featuring fresh produce, baked goods and crafts.

"We need a space for 80 vendors and one that is pet-friendly," she said.

But city commissioners turned down Garrison Market Management's request to hold a open-air market in Treasure Island Park between October and May after hearing objections.

Parks and recreation director Cathy Hayduke told commissioners that the park is overused, now being the spot for a number of special events as well as parking for the community center.

Chamber leaders, who run a market on Friday mornings from December to April with 64 vendors, also objected to the idea.

"A lot of markets have opened in recent years and closed. We don't need another one," said Vito Musange, manager of the Friday morning market.

Garrison admitted the park was not her first choice for a location and suggested maybe 107th Avenue downtown could be blocked off and used for the market. Parking lots at closed businesses could provide needed space, she said.

But Commissioner Phil Collins said he didn't like the market idea after hearing about the problems St. Pete Beach's Corey Avenue Sunday market has with businesses that don't like the competition and the number of homeless people it attracts.

Vendor Jerry Arden, who participates in the Corey market as well as the Treasure Island market, said the St. Pete Beach market has had problems because of the lack of support from the city and no advertising.

He supported allowing a fresh market to be established in Treasure Island, saying that the Friday market has "turned into a flea market."

Commissioner Alan Bildz said he thought having an open-air market was a "wrong idea for the park."

But commissioners did approve of hosting another event: the first U.S. Beach Ultimate National Championship for Frisbee players on city beaches.

Kevin Smith, director for the St. Petersburg Clearwater Sports Commission, said with commission approval, he submit a bid to host the two-day event in May when more than 40 teams with 400 competitors are expected.

"This is a great opportunity and exposure for our community," Commissioner Tim Ramsberger said.

Treasure Island fresh market proposal rebuffed 07/24/14 [Last modified: Thursday, July 24, 2014 11:00am]
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