by Jonathan Weaver
Councilman Josh Abernathy proposed a new idea to attract people or potential business owners to Ford City Borough this summer: a farmers’ market.
“We’re trying to draw people into the community,” Abernathy said. “I’ve pitched this idea when I wasn’t on Council.”
His suggestion included local farmers setting up tables with fruits, vegetables and flowers for sale along Ford Street in the evening.
“And we won’t charge for it – the idea is to get something going on in town,” Abernathy added. “By having it on Ford Street, there will be people walking around and going into businesses. There will be no parking, but there will be people drawn here for a good thing.
“We have to change our way of thinking – we have to make it appealing, and I think a farmers’ market is a good start.”
Ford City Borough Manager Eden Ratliff said the idea to have the tablet set up on the street itself is a wise one.
“We’re asking local farmers to come sell – people will come just for that,” Ratliff said. “Ford Street is the best option – it’s the nicest street in town.”
“I think it’s a great idea,” Council Vice-President Jerry Miklos added.
Abernathy saw the farmers’ market flourish in his own hometown – Snohomish, Washington. The city of less than 10,000 residents live in what many call “the Antique Capital of the Northwest” was a former industrial logging town that has also been plagued with devastating fires, floods and employment layoffs.
Thursday evenings would also be considered a prime time for the event rather than the usual Saturday mornings due to the street sweeper being able to clean the roadway along with garbage collection early the next morning.
Council members will further review the current solicitation ordinance with Ford City Police before any final decision.
Any interested farmers can contact Ratliff at 724-763-3081 or at the Borough office, 1000 4th Avenue in Ford City. Any future donations would be used toward advertising.
At February’s regular council meeting, council members are tentatively scheduled to vote on reducing borough office hours.
The Borough office was closed January 9, Ratliff said at the last public meeting so that secretaries could send out accurate information for business licenses.
“Periodically, these things might happen. In a day of working on nothing else but that, this might help us get up-to-speed – which eliminates overtime, improves efficiency and the general function of the town,” Ratliff said two weeks ago.
Last night, Ratliff updated council members that secretaries suggested staying open Monday through Friday as usual or opening the office at 10AM rather than 8:30AM to allow more time to get tasks accomplished.
Councilwoman Vickie Schaub suggested a different way to improve office efficiency.
“I would rather see that somebody’s there so (the office) is not closed at lunchtime,” Schaub said. “That has caused a lot of hassles in the past.”
Including for Council President Kathy Bartuccio three times when trying to pay an invoice after 1PM.
Secretaries rotated their half-hour lunch break in the past, but voluntarily.
However, Ratliff said the overall goal is still to lessen the amount of people that use the office altogether by means of electronic payments, the bank or an outside box.
For days the office is not open the 15th, customers will be able to pay without penalty on the next business day.
“I just say four days per week, and then on the closed day, the two can work together to get things done,” Abernathy said. “There’s so much stuff.”
Council will continue discussion on the matter in two weeks.