LA MESA, Calif. – A battle is raging over the survival of the La Mesa Farmers Market, pitting some store owners against big fans of the market.
“It’s been a contentious issue, no doubt about it,” said Craig Maxwell, who owns a bookstore on La Mesa Boulevard.
His shop sits just west of Palm Avenue, and he says on Friday afternoons around 1:30 p.m., the streets get closed off to make room for street vendors, keeping cars and customers away from his shop.
“They see the signs and the blocked-off streets and they just say, ‘Forget it,’”
“I hear wonderful things about it,” counters Gy Kirk, who owns a restaurant at the top of La Mesa Boulevard. “It does have that energy.”
Kirk’s restaurant sits just outside the area where the streets close down each Friday and admits, “If I were a block farther that way, you and I would be having a different conversation.”
Walking door-to-door in the area, the majority of stores and customers seem to be in favor of the market, which came to be at its current location on La Mesa Boulevard a little over a year ago.
However, the City Council heard local business’ concerns and decided against extending the permit for the area. Now the market may be forced to move in the next four months.
“We’ve got just a few months to save the farmers market,” said Councilmember Colin Parent.
Parent said the organization handling the market’s contract, La Mesa Village Association, has already proposed changes to keep people on both sides happy. Those changes include waiting until later in the day Friday before closing down the streets.
Parent said the City Council would be open to other suggestions as well. If the right combination is proposed, he said the farmers market may not have to move at all: “Ultimately, the City Council members will decide which to keep.”