The city’s farmers market may have a new home if aldermen and First Baptist Church of Union come to an agreement concerning the church parking lot that is used as a commuter lot.

City Administrator Russell Rost told aldermen last week that church elders agreed to allow the city to locate the market there, if the entities resume a past agreement.

“I think this could be longtime accessibility for that service,” Rost said.

The farmers market is now located on the city-owned parking lot across Locust Street from city hall.

Community Development Director Joseph Graves said he and Rost have been looking for a new location for the farmers market, preferably a space that is visible from Highway 50.

“Numerous vendors have asked for highway exposure and we have been working to secure Highway 50 frontage,” Graves said. “This would certainly be a way to achieve that.”

Space is allocated for a farmers market at the parking lot north of Union City Hall each Saturday from April through October from 6-11 a.m.

“It’s still early in the season and most vendors don’t have much to sell,” Graves said. “They will start showing up in numbers in June.”

There also is space available for the market Wednesdays from 3:30-5:30 at the same location across from city hall. The Wednesday farmers market would remain downtown if the Saturday morning market is moved.

Church, City Agreement

First Baptist Church and city officials still are meeting to determine the final terms of an agreement between the entities.

The city is looking to continue the use of the lot as a commuter parking lot in exchange for some surface upkeep.

City leaders have agreed to make an effort to work with the church trustees to resurrect an agreement the two entities made more than 10 years ago.

Under the previous contract enacted in 1999 the city agreed to sublet the parking lot west of the Union Baptist Church located at Highways 50 and 47.

In exchange for allowing the lot to be a commuter parking lot, the city would resurface that portion of the lot and the lot used for church parking, as well as remove snow, patch holes, clean litter and insure the property.

That agreement expired in 2004, according to City Administrator Russell Rost, but the city has continued to remove snow, and conduct other duties included in the agreement. The lot also has been used for commuter parking.

It will cost the city about $34,000 for a “slurry seal” of the entire lot.

The agreement also includes “driveways and entrances” including those from Highway 50 to the lot, and from Main Street to the lot. The Main Street entrance also is used by Walgreens.

The church is now on the market for sale in order to relocate the church. Under a proposed agreement, the church may repay the city for a portion of the paving work if the church property sells.