MOUNT PLEASANT -- The town is exploring the possibility of buying the high-profile Farmers Market property on Coleman Boulevard from the Charleston County School District, officials said Monday.
Talks next week between town and school officials are scheduled. "Not just that issue but a whole host of things. It's just one piece of a larger conversation," said Town Deputy Administrator Eric DeMoura.
Also up for discussion next week between the town and the school district is the future of the old Whitesides Elementary School on Rifle Range Road. A new school is under construction next to Mount Pleasant Water Works.
The town has a $1 million investment in Farmers Market improvements, but the school district owns the land, which is part of Moultrie Middle School. That limits what the town can do with the market because of district rules on issues such as alcoholic beverages on school property.
The Farmers Market opens at 4 p.m. today and continues on Tuesdays through Oct. 19. The town wants to explore whether it could increase revenue by leasing the facility for community and social events when it is not in use for the market.
"That would include probably alcohol sales. I suspect something will be worked out," DeMoura said.
School district officials were not available for comment Monday about the town's interest in purchasing the market land. The Farmers Market and the new Moultrie Middle School are a centerpiece of the town's $4 million revitalization of Coleman Boulevard. During school hours, the market property is available as an outdoor classroom. This is the second year the Farmers Market has been held at its new location.
Teacher Mary Miller enjoyed lunch at a market picnic table while grading papers Monday. She said the Tuesday market has become a social event with its food and music. "It's a lot nicer than before. I think it is really good for tourism, local tourism," she said.
New offerings at the market this year include poultry, goat cheese, pecans and ice cream. The market is open until dark. The 10,000-square-foot market replaces the old one held at the school grounds. It offers fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables as well as flowers, preserves, dips, breads and pies. Coffees, a variety of teas, soft drinks and water are sold. There also are local food vendors.
The market has two open-air sheds framing a large concrete courtyard. Because of the new market, dozens of vendors no longer must scramble each week to set up their tents or find an electrical outlet.
CHARLESTON: Marion Square, downtown Charleston; 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturdays, through Dec. 19.
DANIEL ISLAND: Family Circle Tennis Complex, 161 Seven Farms Drive; 3 p.m. until dusk, Thursdays, May 6-Sept. 30.
FRESHFIELDS VILLAGE: On Johns Island, at the traffic circle between Kiawah and Seabrook islands; 4-8 p.m. Mondays, June 7- Aug. 30.
GOOSE CREEK: Goose Creek Community Center, 519 N. Goose Creek Blvd.; 3-6 p.m. Thursdays, May 6-Sept. 30.
MONCKS CORNER: Gulledge and Heatley streets; 8 a.m.-1 p.m. Wednesdays and 8 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturdays, June 19- Oct. 30.
MOUNT PLEASANT: In pavilions in front of Moultrie Middle School, Coleman Boulevard and Simmons Street; 4 p.m. until dark Tuesdays, through Oct. 19.
NORTH CHARLESTON: Park Circle; noon-7 p.m. Thursdays, April 22-Oct. 28.
SUMMERVILLE: West Doty Street between Cedar and Main streets; 8 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturdays, through late fall.
MUSC FARMERS MARKETS: In MUSC Horseshoe, 171 Ashley Ave.; off Courtenay Drive on Charleston Center Drive; Harborview Office Towers, 19 Hagood Ave.; 7 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Fridays through late fall.