Waterville Farmers’ Market to relocate

The College’s downtown resurgence project has continued to affect the residents of Central Maine. The Downtown Waterville Farmers Market, currently located in the northeast corner of The Concourse, will be moved to Castonguay Square next spring. The City of Waterville, along with businesses on Common Street and the farmers’ market worked in partnership with Colby to secure this location.

The College plans on building a student dormitory where the market currently stands. Normally, it operates on Thursdays from late April to mid-November and is a valuable business outlet for food vendors and fresh produce fiends. After several rounds of negotiations, the town settled on Castonguay Square, a small, grassy park sandwiched between Main and Front Street, directly across from City Hall.

The square will provide valuable and appealing green space and shade for the market as opposed to hot, open asphalt, which can be oppressive in the summer months. Brian Clark, vice president of planning and the overseer of Colby’s downtown revitalization project, emphasized the market’s place in central Waterville, and how it will “add energy and commerce to Main Street and build on the tradition of events like the Maine International Film Festival, Taste of Waterville, and Waterville Rocks, making the square a center of activity.”

The market is home to over 20 vendors, who sell a variety of products from blueberries to soaps to ice cream. Many products use locally grown, organic materials, and many of the vendors also attend markets in Skowhegan, Bangor, and Fairfied.

Over the course of several months, Colby and market manager Hanne Tierney worked to prioritize the desires of those farmers and vendors, ultimately letting them chose the future location over other options.  According to Tierney, the market was “committed to staying downtown.” In the spring of 2017, the vendors will be situated around the square, providing a pleasant atmosphere for shoppers between 2:00 and 6:00 P.M.   

Construction of a new dormitory is expected to start next year, as Colby is now buying the section of the parking lot previously occupied by the market. It is part of a massive project for which the College has already purchased five buildings and razed one. Third-year College President David A. Greene has a vision of a revitalized and vibrant Waterville, and actions from the college are starting to reflect this vision.