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Progress On Market Village/Farmers Market Project

November 27th, 2020

Progress continues on a proposal to establish an open-air retail center on a vacant lot in downtown Coudersport. It’s a project of the Revitalize Potter County Steering Committee and the county’s Planning Commission. County officials emphasize that the plan is merely a proposal, subject to public input and a number of elements – including funding – falling into place. The committee has been working with an architect to develop renderings for a “market village/farmers market” on a county-owned lot at the corner of East Second and North East streets. A $4,500 grant from the Pennsylvania Wilds Planning Team paid for the services of a landscape architect/engineer, who has been conducting a feasibility study and developing a conceptual design.

Steering committee co-chairs Will Hunt and Ellen Russell describe the proposed development as a semi-permanent “village” with multiple short-term rental spaces. Retail space would complement the Potter County Farmers Market, with short-term occupants marketing agricultural goods, prepared food, locally crafted items or other products. It would be modeled after the successful Tionesta Market Village in Forest County.

The committee envisions the lot becoming a gathering place where live music and other entertainment or educational programs could be presented. Similar open-air markets could be developed in Galeton, Ulysses, Roulette and other Potter County towns. Community organizations, such as chambers of commerce, would be contacted to partner with the committee.

Rentals would be available at low fees. The market village could serve as an incubator for new businesses. It would provide an opportunity for entrepreneurs and small business owners to “pilot” their business idea, without running the large risk associated with a storefront. Once the business proves to be successful, the hope is it would move into an empty storefront to help revitalize the business district. A marketing plan calls occupants of the mini-village to direct visiting shoppers to established downtown businesses.

Potter County Planning Commission members will review the plans at their next public business meeting, to be held at 3 pm on Tuesday, Dec. 8, after which the project will be open to public input. Meanwhile, the steering committee is investigating grant opportunities in the event that the plan gets a green light.

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