The Heritage Sandy Springs Farmers Market will move this year to City Springs and receive city sponsorship.
The concept, approved by City Council consensus for further work on March 20, would have the farmers market open its season April 14 at its longtime Century Springs office park location. Then the market would move to the new City Springs civic center starting May 12, to coincide with the opening of some city uses there. The market would operate on Mount Vernon Highway next to City Springs on Saturday mornings through December, closing the street on those mornings.
The move would be a homecoming of sorts for the Sandy Springs institution, which began in 2010 on the City Springs site – at the time, a parking lot outside an old Target store.
Carol Thompson, executive director at Heritage Sandy Springs, confirmed the move is in the works.
“The Heritage Sandy Springs Farmers Market is pleased to be moving back near its original location for the 2018 season,” Thompson said in an email. “Adjacent to the beautiful City Springs development, the Mount Vernon Highway location will be highly visible and easily accessible for walkers and bikers in nearby neighborhoods and reminiscent of the original spot where patrons first fell in love with the market.”
Since the 2010 founding, the market has relocated a few times. For three years, it has operated in Century Springs at 6100 Lake Forrest Drive. Assistant City Manager Jim Tolbert told the City Council that the market reports declining attendance and revenue, likely because the office park location is not easily visible or accessible by foot.
“We think there’s great synergy by bringing it to the City Springs area,” said Tolbert.
City Springs is the city’s massive new civic center bounded by Roswell Road, Mount Vernon Highway, Sandy Springs Circle and Johnson Ferry Road. It is opening in stages over the course of this year. As part of the development, Mount Vernon Highway was equipped with utility hook-ups for such festival-type events as the farmers market.
For the farmers market, Mount Vernon Highway likely would be closed between Blue Stone Road and the new street Galambos Way, according to city spokesperson Sharon Kraun. The market would take place in the street. The city thinks the Saturday morning timing will not adversely affect traffic, and there will be safety precautions taken to prevent vehicles from driving through the market, she said.
“As the market grows, we have several options to accommodate and expand,” Kraun said.
Tolbert also recommended the city sponsor the market, with no specific financial support cited at this point. Kraun said there likely will be more discussion as the city prepares the fiscal year 2019 budget, which starts July 1.
Tolbert also suggested the formulation of a nonprofit event sponsorship policy that includes a business plan showing how the event will become self-sustaining over time, as is at least technically the goal with other city-sponsored events.
Those include the Leadership Sandy Springs Movie by Moonlight screenings and Heritage Sandy Springs’ Concerts by the Springs and annual Sandy Springs Festival. Michael Enoch, manager of City Springs’ Performing Arts Center, previously said there are plans for the Sandy Springs Festival’s live music to relocate to City Springs this September.
The farmers market was founded by Andy Bauman, who is now a City Council member, and the late Jeffrey Langfelder. Heritage, a local history and culture organization, took over operations in 2014. During the March 20 council discussion, Bauman briefly remarked that the move to City Springs sounds good.
Tolbert said the move would be done at no cost to Heritage.
Update: This story had been updated with further comment from Heritage Sandy Springs and the city.