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Rockdale farmer's market location change sparks controversy among vendors, customers

Posted at 6:44 PM, Mar 22, 2024

ROCKDALE, Texas — The Rockdale Chamber of Commerce changed the location of its Farmer's Market, sparking controversy among local vendors and shoppers.

  • The Rockdale Chamber of Commerce is relocating its farmer's market for a third time in about two years, moving from Wolf Park to its office location.
  • The main reason for the move is for more parking, more shade from the sun and for a more convenient set-up.
  • Some vendors are for the change, but some customers say the change would take away from the revitalization of downtown Rockdale and present safety issues.

BROADCAST TRANSCRIPT:

Georgia Marshall remembers working summers at the Rockdale Farmer's Market at Wolf Park downtown.

"For the first three months, it was amazing — lots of vendors, lots of traffic, lots shopping. Everything was looking great," she said.

Until it wasn’t.

"The vendors got less and less and less and less...and as you can see, there's no shade," Marshall said.

This time she’s selling, and she’s glad the market is moving back to the chamber of commerce along highway 79.

But regular customers like Shannon Kornegay says it’s the wrong move.

“There's ample, ample parking downtown for the farmer's market, and a majority of vendors brought their own tents, and there's also a covered pavilion. Vendors and/or customers also had accessibility to public restrooms at either the train depot or the shops that were open," Kornegay said.

Other vendors commenting on the Chamber’s Facebook post saying in part quote:

"I still think Wolf Park is a better location with traffic on hwy 79 and to be closer to downtown.”

Other comments were deleted and replaced with a post stating it turned into a “forum for complaints."

The chamber didn’t agree to an interview, but they tell me the location been an issue for years, changing constantly, making the ultimate decision based on a survey of what regular vendors wanted.

But Kornegay tells me she wishes the entire community was surveyed, especially customers.

“Currently, at Wolf Park, it also is good for the businesses that are downtown. One of the main focuses in rockdale right now is revitalizing downtown," she said.

Though Marshall and the chamber are hoping it fixes some issues. 

“I hope that it is successful, and I believe it will be," Marshall said.