Photo: proposed farmer's market building, architectural drawing
County Exec Debbie Preston has declared the land behind the Cooperative Extension "the perfect place" for a year round farmer's market, but once again she is putting lipstick on a pig. The Cooperative Extension site was a late substitution when the Otsiningo Park location was held up due to finds from the archaeological dig on the site. But neither site is available by walking and the Cooperative Extension site is really only accessible by car, and there are not that many parking spaces at that. In a town that is a food desert in many places, and has many abandoned lots and underused buildings a more sustainable location could have been available. Several alternative sites come to mind: Binghamton Plaza, or opposite in the Colonial Plaza where the County Land Bank has taken possession. Or, the old Lumber Yard site off of Lester Ave. across from CFJ Park which has plenty of space, is in the middle of everything, on two bus lines, and with the development currently planned for Johnson City this would fit right in. Even more promising now that the EJ Victory Building has been secured by the County Land Bank.
But, the county was in danger of losing the money due to a deadline, so they grabbed the Cooperative Extension site.
Sustainability was a buzzword for the Ryan Administration but you won't hear it in the halls of either the county or the city. Sustainability means that we don't rely on automobiles if there are alternatives, that we encourage safe walking and biking. Also, that re-claims land or buildings not being utilized. If you have traveled up Front St. lately you know that the traffic is fierce and that there are no sidewalks or bike paths. Not sustainable to say the least.
Another missed opportunity to do the right thing. And a mistake we will be living with for a long time.