Town officials are moving forward on the Elkin Farmers Market shelter to be located on the parking lot adjacent to Town Hall.
A grant from the North Carolina Tobacco Trust Fund Commission in the amount of $75,000 will cover most of the cost of a farmers market shelter and utilities.
According to the Request for Proposal, the construction project must begin by July and must be completed no later than Dec. 15. The cost for shelter and utilities are not to exceed $75,000; total budget is $95,000.
The RFP said the town will be paving the parking lot where the shelter will be located. The cost of the parking lot paving are unknown, but previous estimates released by the town officials are about $75,000.
The shelter will be about 3,000 square feet. At least 20 market stalls are required, up to 12-by-12-feet (but no smaller than 10-by-10 feet). The RFP also requires one unisex restroom with lighting, but not necessarily with heating.
The shelter must have the potential to be relocated in the future with affordable moving costs to be absorbed by the town.
All bids are due back in a sealed envelop to the town of Elkin by May 22.
According to Laura Gaylord, Main Street and community manager, the farmers market experienced 300 percent growth during the 2013 season. Gaylord has routinely nudged town commissioners on the importance of building the shelter.
“I won’t feel good until the project is done. Then we can celebrate together,” said Gaylord.
“The rural economy and many communities in North Carolina continue to face challenges in a post-tobacco buyout era,” said Bill Teague, the commission’s chairman when announcing the grant. “Elkin is committed to providing a practical and appealing shelter that can serve the community in many ways.”
The General Assembly created the NC Tobacco Trust Fund Commission in 2000 to help soften the financial impact to farmers and tobacco-related businesses caused by the sharp decline of tobacco in the agricultural economy. The commission’s funding comes from a set appropriation of monies paid by cigarette manufacturers under the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement to the state. Since 2002, the NCTTF has awarded over 200 grants to public and nonprofit agencies that meet the goals of strengthening the rural and tobacco-dependent economies of North Carolina.
Anthony Gonzalez may be reached at 336-835-1513 or on Twitter @newsgonz.