La Cañada farmers market to set up stands at Memorial Park

This summer, vendors of the La Cañada Flintridge Farmers Market will be asked to temporarily relocate to Memorial Park for at least three months as the city resurfaces and makes improvements to its current home in the Caltrans overpass parking lot on Foothill Boulevard.

La Cañada Flintridge Public Works Director Edward Hitti informed City Council members last week that bids for the parking lot work would be going out June 12, with construction anticipated to begin sometime in July or August. During that time, he informed them, the market would not be allowed to set up in its usual spot.

“It will impact the farmers market for three to four months,” he said of the project. “We’ll have to find another location.”

Ying Kwan, a city engineer working on the project, said Tuesday that Memorial Park was officially selected as the relocation site, beating out Olberz and Edison parks and a few other locations, primarily for its proximity to the original marketplace.

“The farmers market preferred to go to Memorial Park because it’s closer and creates less confusion, and they’ll still have the street presence there, so right now that’s where it will go,” Kwan said.

The project includes resurfacing of the lot, improvement of nearby gutters and sidewalks and the installation of some landscaping elements as well as an irrigation system. A concrete block wall, surfaced with river rocks, will be built with wrought iron fencing and a steel display shelter will allow market vendors and members of the community to display signs.

First put on the city’s last capital improvement project list in 2006, the resurfacing and re-striping project expanded to include beautification elements. It is expected to cost from $175,000 to $225,000, Kwan estimated.

Although the property is owned by Caltrans, La Cañada leases it for a nominal fee according to an agreement that makes the lessee responsible for any upgrades. Caltrans granted the city permission to complete the project, Kwan said.

While looking for an alternate location for the farmers market, city staff worked closely with representatives from CA Certified Farmers’ Market, Inc., which operates the La Cañada event as well as other markets throughout Greater Los Angeles, to determine the best option.

Melissa Farwell, director of market coordination and development for that corporation, said she visited several sites around town, but found Memorial Park to be the best fit.

“That is the area we requested — it’s the best possible location,” she said.

Kwan said market vendors will have to comply with some basic guidelines for using public space in Memorial Park, such as orienting the layout of the event so customers enter from La Cañada Boulevard. They will also be prohibited from driving any vehicles on the park’s lawn.

Farwell said now that it seems a definite spot has been chosen, vendors would be notified of the change of venue sometime in the coming week.


Follow Sara Cardine on Twitter: @SaraCardine.


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