Farmers market gets new leadership, location

Tim Ryan,

Shawano’s downtown Business Improvement District has divested itself of the farmers market, transferring the market assets and operations to the same people who first proposed the event six years ago.
The market is now in the hands of Shawano Farmer’s Market Inc., which plans to move the event from the City Hall parking lot to Franklin Park.
“We have no complaints about the old location,” said Len Pubanz, a member of the new farmers market board. “It did just wonderful there, except you were constricted.”
Pubanz said Franklin Park will allow for expansion and additional activities.
“We’re thinking of bigger things,” he said.
Pubanz and other original champions of the event initially wanted it at Franklin Park, he said, but the former school property was in the hands of a Realtor then. It’s now overseen by the Shawano Park and Recreation Department.
Park and Recreation Director Judy Judd said a draft agreement between the farmers market and the department for use of the park is under review.
The farmers market, which operates Saturday mornings from June through October, was run through the Business Improvement District since it began in 2008.
Pubanz said there was a sentiment on the BID board after a while that it shouldn’t be a BID event.
“They wanted to ease out of it,” he said, “and we didn’t want to see it fail.”
Pubanz said there was a mutual feeling that the original proponents should take it over. Last fall, the group registered as a nonprofit organization.
Richard Sarnwick serves as president of the farmers market board. Other board members are Bob Dumke, Carol Ryczek and Jennifer Langlois.
On Wednesday, the BID board passed a formal resolution transferring the market’s assets — such as tents, tables, chairs, and signs — and a roughly $7,000 cash balance to Shawano Farmer’s Market Inc.
“I’m real happy,” Pubanz said. “I’m excited about what we’re going to do.”
There are still some logistical matters to be worked out, Pubanz said, such as how and where on the park property the market will be set up.
“We have to go in and map that out,” he said. “We’re not at that point yet.”
The group also hopes to get approval from the city to close a portion of Washington Street when the market is operating.