Shoppers congregate at the Logan Square Farmers Market in August 2011. (Tribune File photo )
Logan Square Kitchen owner Zina Murray sparked a bit of controversy last week when she posted messages to Everyblock and the Logan Square Yahoo Group urging residents to support a change of venue for the Logan Square Farmers Market this season.
In her posting, Murray suggested that the market has outgrown its current location on Logan Boulevard and should move to a more spacious location on Milwaukee Avenue. She said the current site “is too small, congested and restricts commerce.”
However, Paul Levin, executive director of the Logan Square Chamber of Commerce, which organizes the market, said he has no plans of moving the market this season, and that Murray’s campaign for a change of venue “just came out of nowhere.”
“[The market] works fine where it is,” Levin said. “This whole thing is just a distraction while we’re already deep into getting the market ready to go.”
Murray said she and vendor Rob Montalbano of Montalbano Farms met with Alderman Rey Colon several months ago to tell him that the main concern of the vendors was a change of location this season. Murray said she told Colon that she was interested in restarting the conversation of moving the market onto Milwaukee.
“I didn’t make any commitments at that time, except that I would look into it and revisit the issue with the department of transportation,” Colon said.
The chamber of commerce first considered moving the market two years ago. Colon asked CDOT for permission to move the market to Milwaukee Avenue, but CDOT denied the request.
"I'm baffled as to why I've met so much resistance," Murray said. "At least now the conversation is on the table."
Levin said the chamber would not support a move this season, but he said that he would be open to a move to Milwaukee Avenue in the future if the vendors were supportive and the logistics could be managed properly.
According to a statement released by the Logan Square Chamber of Commerce, the chamber has been considering a move from the Logan Boulevard location since 2009, but logistical hurdles have kept the market where it is.
Traffic congestion and pedestrian safety issues must be dealt with before a move can be considered, which could be both costly and time consuming Levin said.
The Logan Square Farmers Market is set to open June 3 at the intersection of Logan and Milwaukee avenues. For more information, vist the Logan Square Farmers Market web page at http://www.logansquarefarmersmarket.org/home.