Year-Round Boise Farmers Market Could Sport $6 Million Pricetag

Jan 17, 2012

BOISE, ID – Most farmers markets around Idaho are closed for the winter including Boise’s. But that could change for the capital city’s public market. There’s an effort to turn it into a year-round one.   It would cost at least $6 million to develop.

The Capital City Public Market on a warm summer’s day brings people who love to taste and buy locally produced foods.  Like many shoppers we spoke with last summer, Janel Kewley was intrigued by a year-round market.

Janel Kewley:  “It looks like a good idea, and to have an indoor venue that’s not freezing cold in the winter would be great, too.”

The City of Boise thinks it’s a good idea too. It paid a firm out of Maine more than $28,000 for focus groups and a feasibility study.   That study puts the cost to develop a year-round market between $6-13 million.  Cece Gassner assists the mayor on economic development.  She says the study provides a good reality check.

Cece Gassner:  “It wasn’t a number that was completely surprising.  At the same time, it didn’t make you suddenly want to scream and go running away.”

The $6 million plus price tag doesn’t include the cost of the site itself.  In comparison, the Santa Fe Farmer’s Market cost about $5 million.  The Milwaukee Public Market had a development budget of $11 million.  Garrett Goldberg leads the Idaho Center for Sustainable Agriculture. That’s the Boise Market’s non-profit arm.  He says the study lets them know what they have to work with to create a year-round market.

Garrett Goldberg:  “With a successful market the worst thing you can do is ruin what you have so yeah, we’re looking at some sites, different types of ownership structures, but really here in the downtown core.”

The study recommends a year-round market distinguish its offerings from a new competitor:  Whole Foods.  The Austin, Texas-based chain will open a store next year near downtown Boise.

Copyright 2012 Boise State Public Radio