Farm Days: Connecting Lowndes County and the City of Valdosta

Yesterday I wrote that interactions about Valdosta Farm Days between the Lowndes Commmission and the City of Valdosta “could have been smoother if one or both of the parties had been proactive.” The VDT reported that the County Commission wants to know about Valdosta Farm Days, and apparently there was a disconnect between the staff and the Commissioners. Here’s how the Commission came to be informed, through interactions of citizens and staff.

First, an excerpt from the paper paper story by David Rodock, “Farmers market proposal discussed by commission”, Tuesday, April 12, 2011, page 3A (it’s not online):

The Lowndes County Board of Commissioners met Monday morning to discuss agenda items that will be voted upon today at its gular meeting, including allowing the City of Valdosta too use sidewalks and parking at the old Lowndes County Courthouse for a local farmers market that will be held twice a month.

Gretchen Quarterman, who was in the audience, came forward with additional information about the county manager’s proposal.

“The City of Valdosta has sort of been lusting for a similar program that places like Tifton or Savannnah have been doing for lcal farmers and gardeners to have a location to sell their wares,” said Quarterman. “They think that it would be an economic driver to bring people downtown on Saturdays.”

Commissioner Crawford Powell, District 3, said this was the first time commissioners had seen the proposal and he hoped that a representative from the city would be able to provide more information.

“We don’t know a whole lot about this,” said Powell. “We saw it in the paper that they were trying to announce something, buut we don’t know who’s going to be in charge, who will set up or clean up the area, or if the courthouse will be opened to allow them access to power.”

(LAKE has no audible video of the interchange the VDT reported, because the county’s sound system wasn’t working correctly, somewhat to the displeasure of some of the elected Commissioners.)

After the Commission work session, Paige Dukes (County Clerk) told me she was going to come to the previously scheduled meeting of the Downtown Valdosta Farm Days at 10AM Monday 11 April 2011. I went to Amanda Peacock’s office to let her know that the Commission wanted someone to come and talk at the Commission meeting Tuesday to give them more information about the project, and that Paige would be coming to the meeting at 10 o’clock.

Paige has been invited to all those meetings, but this is the first one she came to. She had a list of concerns from the Commissioners. Paige said they were calling out the door as she was coming to the Farm Days meeting to make sure she had a complete list of their concerns.

From memory, the Commissioners were concerned that no cooking happen; particularly they don’t want grease or ice poured on the Courthouse lawn. The Courthouse watering system is not very deep in the lawn so they don’t want any stakes put in the lawn. Also need to be careful about what kind of chairs are put on the lawn, so they don’t dig in. They were also concerned about any litter that might be left behind. The city said they would have their downtown litter collector make that their first pass so that there wouldn’t be any litter on Monday morning.

Another concern was who would be in charge of it. Mara said it would be her, or Amanda, or Ellen. Mara Register is Assistant to the City Manager. Amanda is the Manager and Ellen is the Program Coordinator at Valdosta Mainstreet.

Stay tuned for what Mara told the County Commission the next day!

-gretchen

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