Farmers’ Market to Relocate to Pali High

By Laurel Busby and Sue Pascoe

About 75 people were prepared to argue the merits of the Palisades Farmers Market moving to the park at a meeting of the Park Advisory Board (PAB) on July 6 when Raw Inspiration Director of Operations Melissa Farwell announced, “We’re going to be moving to the high school.”
Palisades Charter High School’s Director of Operation David Riccardi said in an email earlier that day that the school had “locked up the Farmers Market for a new partnership with the school and for the community.” He noted that they “expect them to be here at least the next 18 months.”
The Swarthmore Farmers Market will have to move for two years.

The Swarthmore Farmers Market will have to move for two years.

Construction of Caruso Affiliated’s Palisades Village on Swarthmore will close the Farmers Market on Sunday, July 17.

Palisades Recreation Center had been proposed as its new location, and the Park Advisory Board (PAB) held a special meeting at 7 p.m. on July 6 to discuss the potential relocation of the market to the Upper Athletic Field for about two years.

Farwell from the Palisades Farmers Market said that the market hopes to address potential issues such as parking by having vendors park at a distance from the would also allocate some of its parking to market, so they would not take up nearby marketgoers. “We’re willing to work out street parking. The Recreation Center anything with anyone we need to work out,” she said.

Farwell requested that the community send comments to info@rawinspiration.org, and she is hoping the comments will be supportive. “We are hoping that the community will embrace us temporarily in this new location.”

The dialogue surrounding the previous proposal to move the Rec Center was already heating up by Wednesday night’s PAB meeting.

Park Director Erich Haas said for the market to initially occupy the upper field (located at the entrance to the park), a right of entry would be drawn up, and fees would be required to provide a staff member on site and for field maintenance.

“Before moving forward, the department [L.A. Recreation and Parks] wants to en- sure the community would even want the Farmers Market at the park during the displacement,” Haas said in an email. “This is the reason for the special meeting.”

Sue Jameson, president of the Huntington Palisades Property Owners Corporation (HPPOC), the homeowners association for the area, had not heard about the proposed new market location before being contacted by the News. PAB’s Lynn Hylen said she had contacted Corpus Christi Church (across the street from the park), but not HPPOC or Ralphs/Palisades Carwash/Pharmaca/Norris.

One nearby Huntington neighbor, Rob Weber, had a negative view of the proposal. “I love the Farmers Market, but, Sunday is one of the two busiest days of the week at the Rec Center,” he said in an email. “We should not be completely supplanting some recreational activities and negatively impacting others to make room for a commercial venture that has other options in town. There already is insufficient parking for the events that take place at the Rec Center every weekend—can you imagine what a mess it would be if this market is added?”

During a recent Farmers Market, residents suggested varied options for a relocated market. For example, Via de la Paz from Antioch to just before the YMCA was one recommendation. The market also considered this location by talking to businesses along the route, according to residents. Valet parking was offered to aid patrons in accessing both the YMCA and the adjacent United Methodist Church.

Pastor Wayne Walters said the church’s Board of Trustees voted against the idea because they worried about illegal parking in both its lot and the alley behind the church. In addition, the church board was concerned about potential accidents with pedestrians, cars and valets.

The Pacific Palisades Parks Advisory Board meeting on July 6.

The Pacific Palisades Parks Advisory Board meeting on July 6.

YMCA Executive Director Shelly Skaro said that Farwell had approached her when canvassing the Via de la Paz area.

“We love the idea of more foot traffic being in front of our YMCA, however, we have no way of knowing the impact that it will have on our members,” Skaro said. “I have heard the Farmers Market will offer free valet parking to our members, which I imagine would help ease the stress of parking.”

A manager at nearby Gelson’s said the grocery store had not been approached by the market, but that Gelson’s would not be in favor of a Via de la Paz market location. Gelson’s, which also sells organic vegetables, would be in direct competition with the market and already has issues with non-customers parking in its lot, the manager said.

Other resident proposals in the business district included Antioch, which would also affect Gelson’s, and Swarthmore south of Sunset, which would make the CVS parking lot inaccessible. Another street, La Cruz, would conflict with Sunday American Legion events, which require disabled parking access that would be blocked by a market on the street.

In January, Caruso spokesperson Liz Jaeger had originally said that the market would be able to remain in its location on Swarthmore. “Our goal is to keep the be- loved Palisades Farmers Market operating on Swarthmore throughout construction,” Jaeger said.

A few months later, Caruso Affiliated decided the market would have to move, but “we look forward to welcoming it back immediately following construction.”

Palisades High School also had been considered as an alternate market site, but PaliHi’s Director of Operations Dave Ric- cardi said on June 28 that he had “never heard back [from the Farmers Market] after I reduced the pricing.”

Farwell said that, unfortunately, the revised cost was still too expensive for the market, and the market preferred the park location. Palisades Recreation Center “is where we would really love to go,” Farwell said.

In a July 1 email, Riccardi told the News: “I heard Caruso was willing to help offset costs if they were going to Via. I’m sure Caruso would still assist at the school.”

The school has ample empty parking lots every Sunday and is located in the center of the community.

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