HOUNSFIELD — The property surrounding the long vacant Rusted Route Bar and Grill on Route 3, though currently overgrown and unused, may soon become home to the area’s newest farmers market.
A plan brought forth by applicant Tim Allan of Sackets Harbor to the Jefferson County Planning Board was discussed and accepted at its meeting Tuesday night and will be presented at a hearing at the town barn at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 4, to gain public input.
According to Yvonne Podvin, chairperson of the Hounsfield Planning Board, if the proposal is approved Tuesday night, Mr. Allan will be free to begin the market at his discretion.
The idea for the One More Vendor and Farmers Market came to Mr. Allan in April with the thought that more people had extra time on their hands this spring to plant and make crafts and that this location would be a safe environment for them to sell their goods.
After talking with the county’s Department of Health and the New York State Department of Agriculture and Marketing, they were able to devise a safe and effective site plan that would be in accordance with COVID-19 guidelines. According to Mr. Allan, there are currently enough spaces for 25 vendors in 10’x10’ spaces set 10 feet apart from each other on the three-acre property.
“There’s plenty of space and I’m making it as safe as I can,” Mr. Allan said. “There will be hand washing stations there, we will be following the rules and enforcing masking. We’re just very excited, I think this is going to be a lot of fun.”
The Rusted Route building itself wouldn’t be used for the market, vendors would set up in the parking lot and surrounding area. The owner of the property, Richard Cunha, bought it in 2016 and had plans to open it as a restaurant again, but they have not since come to fruition.
Mr. Cunha is also the owner of Goodfellos in Sackets Harbor and is good friends with Mr. Allan. When Mr. Allan approached him with his idea for the market, he agreed to let him rent the property.
“I had the space and the capability, so why not?” Mr. Allan said of the venture. “We’re going to try it for this year and then see what happens and then maybe try it again next year.”
According to Mr. Allan, pending approval, the current plan is to hold the market from noon to 6 p.m. every Thursday, Friday and Saturday beginning next week, with vendor registration beginning at 10 a.m. Mr. Allan said he would prefer if vendors registered ahead of market days, but spaces will be available the day of on a first come, first served basis.
“If everything goes through on Tuesday, I’d like to jump right into it,” he said. “We’ll see, I’m going to get ready for it one way or the other anyhow. It’s really not for me, it’s for the vendors, I want them to be able to make some money.”
Mr. Allan already has some interest from vendors and work is underway to clean up the property in anticipation of the market. Though it is a slow process, he said his friends and family have been helpful and supportive.
“It’s looking pretty good right now and I’ve had great support with the town of Hounsfield and the county so I’m very happy, people have been really good,” he said. “It’s all outdoors and vendors will put their own tents up, so I think it’s a safe way to shop locally.”
Interested vendors may call Mr. Allan for more information about the new market at (315) 408-5807.