By Morgan Pilz, Staff Writer
(June 4, 2020) The Berlin council is considering the expansion of the Farmers Market onto Main Street and could potentially look into using cross guards to keep the event safe, after discussion at the last meeting on Tuesday, May 26.
Councilmember Zackery Tyndall first recommended the idea of expanding into Main Street during the Monday, May 11 meeting.
“We have more vendors then we have the space,” he said during the May 11 meeting. “We also have several businesses that want to participate and may not have the space to be able to accommodate that. I was talking to [Economic and Community Development Director Ivy Wells] and I said, ‘Why don’t we incorporate a little bit of Main Street?’”
During this week’s meeting, Town Administrator Jeff Fleetwood shared updates about the market, which included signs set up reminding residents that Main Street was not currently closed to the market, as well as allowing small businesses throughout the historic town to open their doors early.
“The farmers market has gotten a little bit of growth with the number of vendors,” Mayor Rick Meehan said. “We certainly want to help with social distancing where needed.”
The town has been encouraging retail owners who can not be a part of the actual market to participate, which will allow the year-round businesses a chance to take advantage of the summer season and the Sunday market shoppers.
Fleetwood also mentioned that businesses owners who have been opening early for the Sunday market have been seeing more customers than usual.
Tyndall also suggested adding crosswalk guards to help ensure residents and customers of the market remain safe and adhere to walking through the crosswalks only.
“I’m a little concerned with the crosswalk traffic and the people going from one end to the other on Main Street,” he said. “Can we see what it would take to maybe get some volunteer crossing guards or something in that realm or maybe an entrance fee that would cover a crossing guard?
“When you’re traveling there … I’ve been to Main Street twice when I went to the farmers market myself, and I watched people go right in the center,” Tyndall continued. “The crosswalks are there, they’re visible, but I think if you’re going to have something that’s going to straddle Main Street, and still keep that main corridor open, it might be beneficial to look into having somebody there.”
The mayor said that the decision would have to be made with the Berlin Police Department, however, Fleetwood noted that, although he liked the idea, with the limited number of police officers on duty, it would be difficult to have an officer available for the position.
Tyndall rebutted with a suggestion that a volunteer could be the crossing guard with a reflective vest or even hire a temporary position that could be budgeted for the following year to be more permanent.
The mayor and council are interested in the idea and may look into the subject at a later date.
Meanwhile, Wells reminds guests and residents that the market is still complying with the guidelines provided by the Maryland Department of Agriculture.
Shoppers and vendors must wear masks to protect themselves and are encouraged not to linger too long in the space. No more than two people may accompany each other, with the recommendation that children, senior family members and pets remain behind for safety’s sake and again, the town asks that people do not bring their dogs to the market.
The market will be offering recyclable shopping bags for $10. In addition, there will be a station set up that provides face masks for a donation to those who might not have one as well as hand sanitizers.
Wells reminds residents that customers should bring exact change to minimize the exchange of currency as much as possible, or bring other forms of payment like cheques or credit cards.
The market is once again offering an early bird half-hour for seniors ages 60 and older to shop from 8:30-9 a.m. The main market will be open to the rest of the public from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
For more information about the Berlin Farmers Market, contact Wells at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 410-629-1722.