ROCK SPRINGS — After briefly considering a move eastward down the street and into Bunning Hall, the Rock Springs City Council has decided to move the weekly Main Street Market in the opposite direction and expand the open container parameters for the downtown event.
Rock Springs Main Street/Urban Renewal Agency Director Chad Banks proposed the initial move to council last night because of an increase in vendor numbers this year, and after receiving some complaints from several Main Street businesses. Banks said the the complaints range from blocking business signage, to eliminating foot traffic in stores, to limited parking.
Moving the market further down on Main Street would create more space for vendors and also give the public access to bathrooms inside Bunning Hall, Banks said.
Currently, bigger vendors set up in the middle of Main Street while smaller vendors set up on the grass next to the train depot. Banks said, if the bigger vendors were to move closer to the sidewalk on the north side of the street it would disrupt the flow of traffic between all the vendors in the market.
“The whole reason for the market is to bring people downtown,” Banks said. “I really have no interest in running a Farmer’s Market just around a Farmer’s Market. If we’re not bringing those 700 people or so to those businesses then why are we doing this?”
RJ Pieper, owner of New Studio Photography, said that even though his business does not get a lot of foot traffic during the Farmer’s Market, its current location does give his business exposure to the crowds, even if they’re just stopping in to use his bathroom. However, he would like to see vendors park in another location after they set up on Main Street.
Councilor David Halter suggested moving some of the vendors into the parking lot next to the Rock Springs Coal sign to more create space and improve traffic flow during market hours. People using the underpass will be walking right into the middle of the market, and it would pull some of the vendors off of the street and away from local businesses, said Mayor Tim Kaumo.
The measure will also open up parking spots along the north side of Main Street. Council generally agreed with Halter’s suggestion, so now the Main Street Market will move down the street just a bit to its new location beginning this Thursday.
As part of the measure, council Is now required to amend it’s open container ordinance during market hours. The current ordinance allows for open containers from C St. to the Bank Court. But now that the market has moved, the city will allow for open containers from A Street to the Bank Court.
Everyone agreed that the Main Street market is great for the downtown area, and believe it’s great exposure for downtown Rock Springs.
“It’s a great opportunity for downtown, and we want to make sure that all businesses can capitalize on it and benefit from it,” said Kaumo.