Farmers’ market conflicts with school bus drop-off in Saluda

Published 11:35 am Friday, August 14, 2009

Saluda officials agreed Monday that a weekly farmers&squo; market and school buses just won&squo;t mix. Saluda Town Council discussed Monday the weekly farmers&squo; market held by the Saluda Business Association (SBA) at the city&squo;s parking lot. That parking lot is also the location where school buses drop off students to parents when school is in session.

City officials said four buses&bsp; carrying approximately 100 students drop off students at the parking lot.

The farmers&39; market, which began this year, is held on Fridays and has been a huge success, city officials and SBA members said Monday. The farmer&squo;s market will end its season on Oct. 31.

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The SBA requested that the city relocate the school bus drop-off to the Saluda Baptist Church parking lot for the remaining 10 weeks of the farmers&39; market, but Saluda council members said the move would be too confusing for one day per week and it would be too complicated to close a state street.

City commissioner Leon Morgan met with Polk County School Bus supervisor John Gibbs this week and reported that school bus officials are fine with the farmer&squo;s market beginning to set up at 4:30 p.m. on Fridays but they do not want to move the drop-off location.

Morgan also showed minutes from the June meeting during which council members agreed to allow the farmers&squo; market in the parking lot as long as it didn&squo;t interfere with the school buses.

SBA members said 4:30 p.m. is too late to set up and merchants and shoppers will most likely be there waiting anyway around 3 p.m. as they currently do.

Council agreed for all parties to sit down and discuss a compromise. One compromise discussed was for the farmers&39; market to change times until later in the evening and not set up until 4:30 p.m., with police enforcement on scene. Other options discussed were to permanently move the school bus drop-off to another location or the farmer&squo;s market to a larger location because of its popularity.

Commissioner Morgan, school and SBA members will try to resolve the issue soon as school begins in two weeks.