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A new place for Market-ability

Farmers market will root itself into police building lot

Oct. 1, 2010

New Berlin — Just in time for the harvest, the New Berlin Farmers Market has a new place to call home, at least for now.

The market, which has been looking for a new home for months since discovering it could no longer use its current site outside the new Sendik's, will move mid-month to its new location in the parking lot of the Public Safety Building, 16300 W. National Ave.

It will remain at its old site one more Saturday, Oct. 9, then finish its 2010 season at the police lot Oct. 16, 23 and 30. It will reopen for the 2011 season there the first Saturday in May. The farmers market is open 7 a.m. to noon.

New home, sweet home

City officials are happy to have the farmers market, run by the New Berlin Area Chamber of Commerce, on city property. And chamber officials are also pleased.

"We are grateful they've given us this spot," said Michael Skupien, chamber president, adding "We may get traffic we never got before."

The location has great visibility from National Avenue, and it's beside Malone Park, which is heavily used for baseball and soccer, Skupien said. The site is also close to nearby dump, which generates plenty of Saturday morning traffic.

Ironically, that busy dump traffic negated the use of the City Hall parking lot. Aldermen feared the market would add too much traffic to an already busy area. The new location is around the corner from the main dump traffic route.

The market will be located in an area where police put private cars that have been in accidents or have been taken into police custody for some reason. Police Chief Joe Rieder will move some things around and segregate the cars so the market can use the lot.

"We bounced it off the police chief, and he was okay with it," said New Berlin Common Council President Ken Harenda, who originally suggested the police building.

Police do not come and go from that entrance, he said, and the market will not be in the way. And there should be plenty of parking, he said.

Long-term view

But, eventually, the Common Council wants to work out a way for the market to have a more permanent home in the New Berlin City Center near National Avenue and Moorland Road.

Harenda also emphasized that the goal, noting that the recent citywide survey shows that residents would like a central location for the market.

From the chamber's perspective, the idea is also a good one

"We would like to be there," Skupien said.

But how it will get there is still undetermined, he said. The city does not own the City Center, so it would have to try to get a developer to devote an area that could be used not only by the market but for civic groups holding events or fundraisers as well.

The market could help the stores and retail outlets at the City Center, Skupien said.

"People come there for one thing and see something else and buy it," he said.

No hard feelings

The farmers market must move from its current location in the Sendik's New Berlin Plaza, 3600 S. Moorland Road, because of the new Sendik's Food Market, which feels it needs the entire parking lot to operate effectively.

Sendik's is opening three weeks earlier than expected, which meant the farmers market had to find a home in a hurry.

Even so, Skupien said he is glad for Sendik's early start.

"The chamber is glad they are there because they will be an attractive anchor for what we are trying to build in New Berlin," Skupien said.

The chamber has operated the farmers market for at least the 13 years that the chamber's records go back, he said. It has been a fixture of the now Sendik's New Berlin Plaza shopping center for several years after operating for a long time in what is now the parking lot of the Walmart at 15333 W. National Ave.

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