A Farmington woman has proposed running a weekend flea market in a town-owned lot that the Town Meeting voters rejected selling earlier this year.
Selectmen first heard the proposal Tuesday and plan to decide on the matter at the May 13 meeting. Town Manager Richard Davis said the select board is open to the idea but has to consult with an attorney.
Resident Nancy Porter, who proposed the flea market, said she hopes to use money from the market to supplement her income and give others a chance to do the same.
“Like so many folks on fixed incomes, we can meet normal expenses but medical expense and car repairs frequently put us over the edge,” she wrote in her proposal.
Porter has proposed paying the town $700 to run the market for the summer at the site of the former town garage on High Street.
Farmington residents voted in March against selling the town property.
The proposed flea market would start the weekend of May 17 and run until the last weekend in September.
The site has good visibility and would work well, Porter said.
According to her proposal, the lots would be 15 square feet and rent for $20 a day or $35 for both Saturday and Sunday. Porter proposed offering half-price space rentals for nonprofit groups that want to use the space to raise money.
The board postponed action on the proposal at last Tuesday’s meeting because selectmen were concerned about whether the town’s insurance would cover the activity, Davis said.
“They were concerned, rightly so, about any liability and about how the town would be protected,” he said.
He said the town is having its attorney draft a lease proposal that the board could review with Porter. Davis said the town is open to the idea of leasing the space for a flea market and seeing how it goes.
The lot Porter proposed using for the flea market was the site of a schoolhouse before the town built a garage there in 1940s, said Davis. The town stopped using the garage in 2002.
Town selectmen asked voters whether they would like to sell the property, appraised at $53,000, at Town Meeting in March. Attorney Paul Mills spoke against the measure, saying if the property was bought for a commercial purpose then it could damage the downtown character. Residents voted the article down.
Davis said the town has received suggestions for landscaping the property into some sort of park or finding another use for it in the long term, which he said the town is willing to look into.
Kaitlin Schroeder — 861-9252 firstname.lastname@example.org