ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — An iconic Twin Cities farmers market might be relocating.
Attendance at the St. Paul Farmer’s Market has dropped by 25 percent over the last five years. Customers have complained about Lowertown construction and parking changes making access difficult.
“I do notice that it’s less busy,” said Gail Whalen, from St. Paul. “You carry big bags, so many heavy things. You used to be able to park closer.”
St. Paul Growers Association director Jack Gerten says the nearby Saints stadium being built eliminated 250 free parking spots. However, he says there is enough parking.
“It’s just customers have to find our new parking,” Gerten said. “They just have to change their habit a little bit.”
There are roughly 2,000 parking spots that have opened at the Union Depot’s lots on Kellogg Boulevard. The city also made parking meters free for two hours on Saturdays for people heading to the market.
City officials also blame poor attendance on other factors, like the increase in farmers market competition around the metro.
“Some of the churches have them too, I mean it became widespread,” said Cynthia Skally, from St. Paul.
If attendance doesn’t improve, organizers will consider moving the market to the city’s Union Depot.
Both market organizers and customers remain hopeful the completion of the stadium along with new Green Line light rail option will bring the market back to life.
“We are optimistic that things will get better in the next few years,” Gerten said.