The arrival of a West Ashley farmers market this fall will be solid proof that the City of Charleston is taking seriously West Ashley residents’ concerns about improvements in their neighborhoods.
The city’s Office of Cultural Affairs is setting up this communal feature as part of the West Ashley Strategic Plan, which was proposed in 2014 in response to the public’s desire for commercial revitalization and a better living environment.
West Ashley residents and their neighborhood groups have become more vocal in expressing their dissatisfaction over the city’s lack of attention to their community and its appearance. Clearly, many feel as though City Hall has not been paying enough attention to issues outside of the peninsula.
Those complaints were evident in 2013 when residents objected to the demolition of an unused produce shed at Savannah Highway and Wappoo Road. Residents wanted it transformed into a farmer’s market.
A couple of years later finds West Ashley residents and the City of Charleston working together towards establishing a new farmers market. Other community enhancements are planned, including a bike lane across the Legare Bridge over the Ashley River, improvements to the appearance of major transportation corridors and assistance in reducing the high retail vacancy rates in suburban shopping areas. One major public project being considered adjacent to Citadel Mall is a natatorium to accommodate local swimmers and regional competitions.
The farmers market will provide another venue through which Lowcountry farmers and food purveyors can access consumers. It also will make it easier for West Ashley residents to purchase healthy, locally-grown foods. And it will serve to promote sustainable farming and the local economy.
Ideally, the West Ashley farmers market will follow in the footsteps of the Marion Square farmers market, which was first established in 1989 and has become a great success, having once been named one of the nation’s top farmers markets by Travel + Leisure Magazine.
From Sept. 14 to Oct. 26, residents will be able to stop at the West Ashley market, which will be held in Ackerman Park on Sycamore Avenue on Wednesday afternoons, between 3:30 and 7:30 p.m.
West Ashley residents have indicated that they have an appetite for a convenient farmers market, and they’re going to get it. It’s a modest, but encouraging, development for an area that is ready for more community enhancements.