Vevay Town Council discusses Farmers Market, parking, and town ditches

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It was a long and busy meeting Monday night for the Vevay Town Council, as members took up many different concerns from members of the community.

Rosemary Bovard came to the town council to discuss the policies involving the Farmers Market at the corner of Main and Main Cross streets at the courthouse.

She said that the sign that designates the Farmers Market area identifies what days and times that the market will be open, and also the months that the Farmers Market will operate. She said that she is concerned that the area is now becoming a seven day a week business district — and that’s unfair to people who have established businesses.

“I have a business that sells flowers and produce, and when I established my business I went through the process and got all of my permits,” Rosemary Bovard said. “I have a legitimate business. I pay utilities and other overhead. I don’t have a problem with there being a Farmers Market, I just don’t think it needs to be set up seven days a week.”

Rosemary Bovard said that she checked with other area communities, and that the Farmers Markets in those areas are open one or two days a week.

“Two mornings a week, a Farmers Market is okay with me,” Rosemary Bovard said. “Seven days a week, that bothers me. I bought all of the permits and had my property rezoned in order to try and do this right and get a little business going here that would benefit the community.”

Town attorney Greg Coy said that there is a Farmers Market board that controls when the area is open and what can be sold there. He told the council that the board makes sure that only locally-grown products are sold there, making sure that someone doesn’t just show up with a truckload of products grown somewhere else and then sell it as locally grown.

At the center of the situation is who exactly controls the Farmers Market. Officials at the Switzerland County Visitors Center helped the Purdue Cooperative Extension Service get the users of the Farmers Market organized — but those two organizations acted more in an advisory role than a controlling one.

“I went to the Welcome Center and talked with them, and they said that the town council and the county commissioners would be the ones to make a decision,” Rosemary Bovard said. “Again, I don’t have any problems at all with there being a Farmers Market, I just think it should be open at established times.”

Town council president Jamie Hayes asked what control the town would have with the Farmers Market.

“If we are in charge of it, then we can fix this really quickly with an ordinance,” Jamie Hayes said. “We know nothing about it, but I guess we’re going to have to get into it.”

Also discussed was what would happen to the Farmers Market area once the new courthouse and jail are finished, which may require more parking for county workers around the perimeter of the building and could limit the amount of space that those bringing produce to the Farmers Market will have.

The members of the town council agreed that everyone needs to be adhering to the same set of regulation regarding the Farmers Market, and will continue to look into the matter and see who has authority over the area.

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Members of the Switzerland County Tractor Pullers club came to the town council with concerns over a situation that led to a section of their pulling sled being sold off as scrap.

Bob Martin of the club told the town council that the organization stores its tractor pulling sled at the Switzerland County Fairgrounds during the winter months, and last week member Johnny Andrew went to get the sled so that the club could hold a pull for its members over the weekend.

Bob Martin said that Johnny Andrew came and brought the sled out, and then took park of it to his home, waiting to get the remainder of the sled until the next day. When he returned the next morning to pick up the other portion, it was gone.

Johnny Andrew told the town council that he was told that it “looked like junk, so the town picked it up and threw it away.”

Town workers and members of the council were adament that the town did not dispose of the sled, but workers Terry Brindley and Bobby Hensley said that they were approached about “scrap metal” lying outside, and they told the person that they didn’t know anything about it.

“We were having the dumpsters over there for the town and we were getting all kinds of stuff dropped off,” Terry Brindley said. “We didn’t look at it, we just told him that we didn’t know anything about it. We figured it was something that was dropped off at the dumpster.”

Johnny Andrew said that he tracked down the sled portion, and that someone had taken it to Osgood and sold it as scrap. By the time he got to the business, the sled had already been chopped up and sold.

“It’s just a bad deal all the way around,” Bob Martin said. “You take something that weighs 5,000-6,000 pounds and you leave it overnight, you wouldn’t think that someone would steal it.”

Members of the Tractor Pullers asked if the town was aware of any civil routes that it may take to get at least some of the value of the sled back. It was noted that what the scrap yard paid for the sled was nowhere near what the value of it was.

The town council was told the town marshal Brian Morton did the initial investigation into the theft. The town council will ask him to give members of the tractor pullers organization a full report in the event that they would like to pursue the matter further.

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Town councilman Pete Furnish said that the town is having problems with parking. He said that there was an incident on Saturday where an emergency vehicle was parallel parked across angle parking spots.

With the construction of the courthouse addition and the jail ongoing, parking places in town are at a premium, and Pete Furnish said that the town police officers need to be on the watch for vehicles that are illegally parked. he said that he understands that the situation may not be resolved until after the construction is finished, but wants officers to watch for obvious violations.

“We’ve got to try and bite the bit right now and try and get by the best we can,” Pete Furnish said. “It’s going to be tough until the courthouse and jail are finished.”

Carmon Smith said that the parking stripes that have been painted in front of Richardson Industries are at odd angles, making it difficult for people to pull into and out from the spaces. She said that some of the spaces do not appear to be consistent in width.

The town council will have the lines redone, and will also look at other areas in town.

Donna Graham said that the Switzerland County Visitors Center is wanting two parallel parking spots on Liberty Street next to the new Visitors Center so that charter buses could park and visitors more easily enter the Visitors Center.

The town council decided not to take any action on this until after the construction is completed; but noted that a possible solution would be to erect temporary parking restrictions in that area when it is known that a charter bus is coming to town.

“I’d hate to tie up all that parking space everyday for six or seven days a year,” Jamie Hayes said.

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Ed and Bonnie Detraz came to the town council meeting to discuss the work that had been done in the ditch in front of their home on Seminary Street. The ditch has been cleaned out, and in the process landscaping done by the Detrazs has been disturbed and the new angle of the ditch will make mowing difficult.

“We just want to know what the plan is,” Ed Detraz said.

“I would kind of like to know that, too,” Jamie Hayes said.

Jamie Hayes said that the work came as a result of a misunderstanding during a conversation between fellow councilman Pete Furnish and him. The two discussed cleaning out the ditch, and they agreed that it should be cleaned out for spring.

“My idea of cleaning it up and Pete’s are two different things,” Jamie Hayes said. “So I guess I would also like to know what the plan is. It’s a misunderstanding, and misunderstandings happen; but I believe that we should have never gotten to this point without coming to a meeting and hearing all of the different options.”

Keith Smith said that no work on the ditch should have been done until the matter came through an official town council meeting.

Ed Detraz said that there’s now no way that the ditch can be mowed. He noted that he has been caring for the ditch all of the time that he has lived in the house, and he has been mowing it every week, but now it’s in such a state that it will have to be kept cared for using a grass trimmer — and the distance of the ditch is quite long.

“I don’t mind cleaning the ditch, I just don’t know how to do it now that all of this has been done,” Ed Detraz said.

“My main concern is how this got from ‘we’re going to clean it out’ to it happening without it ever coming through a meeting,” Jamie Hayes said.

Pete Furnish said that he mentioned to Terry Brindley that it needed to be mentioned to Carl Bovard.

“The next thing I knew was that Carl was halfway down the street,” Pete Furnish said.

Everyone involved discussed different ideas on what should happen with the ditch at this point. One of the discussion points is that if the town is successful in getting a state grant for a storm sewer project, then what happens with the ditch would be determined by the grant work.

If the town doesn’t get the grant, then the direction of the work will change.

The matter at hand is how to move water through the ditch while the state is determining the fate of the grant. Keith Smith suggested that a small trench be dug in the bottom of the current trench in order to allow the water to flow. That should solve any water problems until a final decision on the grant is heard.

Ed Detraz agreed that smaller trench would serve as a solution in the short term. The town council asked Terry Brindley to check with Bovard and Leap Excavating to see if the trench will work. If it will, then it authorized the work to proceed.