Roswell farmers market moving, manager says city’s ‘unfair’

Roswell Artisans and Farmers Market plans to open in April but it’s not likely to be located at its usual place on city hall grounds, its manager said. PHOTO / JASON GETZ
Roswell Artisans and Farmers Market plans to open in April but it’s not likely to be located at its usual place on city hall grounds, its manager said. PHOTO / JASON GETZ

Credit: Jason Getz

Credit: Jason Getz

The manager of Roswell’s farmers market said she believes the event has been unfairly treated by the city and is being forced to find a new home.

Several farmers markets are preparing to return this spring including north Fulton markets in Sandy Springs and Alpharetta. Roswell Farmers and Artisans Market plans to open in April but it’s not likely to be located at its usual place on City Hall grounds, its manager said. The market is considered a special event and requires a permit, which is not currently being issued by the city due to the pandemic.

Market vendors sell fresh produce, eggs, desserts, artisan crafts and other goods.

Market manager Sherri Schreiner said owners of two other private locations are considering allowing the farmers market to be held on their property.

Schreiner complained that other outdoor events have been taking place on city property such as performances outside Roswell Cultural Arts Center. This week, the Starz network series “Step Up” was in production inside and outside City Hall.

“If they can have those events, why can’t we safely have our open-air farmers market,” Schreiner said. “I don’t know but it could be they want it available for revenues for filming. It seems like it’s more profitable for them, which is a detriment to us.”

The city has waived the Roswell market’s permit fee since it opened there in 2010, Schreiner said.

Before the permits were put on hold last year the fee was $150 plus $50 for public safety needs, city equipment and other measures.

Schreiner sent a letter to Roswell City Council asking them to reconsider their stance on permitting and allow the farmers market to take place. The officials had not yet replied when The Atlanta Journal-Constitution inquired on Thursday.

Roswell spokeswoman Julie Brechbill told the AJC that the events Schreiner mentions were allowed to take place because they are in controlled environments.

“We can control where they sit,” Brechbill said of the Cultural Arts Center. “Everyone must wear a mask. When we can’t control the protocols for everyone, that’s an opportunity for the virus to spread.”

Brechbill said that managers of the television production filmed at City Hall this week had their own tight safety protocols.

Special events such as the farmers market are different and the public has several access points, she said.

“We can’t control the number of people that come into an event space,” she said. “We can’t control that everyone is social distanced.”

City officials postponed the popular Alive in Roswell street festival that usually starts in April. The city plans to have it return in July. And nonprofit events such as the Roswell Beer Festival and the Roswell Wine Festival were turned down for special events permits during the pandemic, Brechbill said.

The Roswell farmers market started in 2007 at Riverside Park as the Riverside Farmers Market. The name was changed to The Roswell Farmers and Artisans Market when it was moved to Roswell City Hall grounds in 2010.

This year, the market is scheduled to run 8 a.m.-noon on Saturdays, April 10-Oct. 30.

Schreiner is one of nine local residents and business owners who work on market operations as volunteers. Schreiner gets paid for managing the farmers market on Saturday mornings, she added.

The farmers market operators had safety measures in place last year. The market opened with pre-orders taken online before customers picked up their goods outside on Saturdays. Schreiner said that became too costly to operate.

Wherever the market finds a home this year, safety measures include temperature checks of vendors, masks, sanitation stations and social distancing, the market manager said.

“If we are not allowed at City Hall this year, we probably won’t be back,” Schreiner said.

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