OLEAN, NY – On a cool, clear Saturday morning, an energetic crowd gathered to witness the ribbon cutting ceremony for Lincoln Square, the new home of the REAP Olean Farmers Market.
Lincoln Square, located in Lincoln Park at 100 E. State St., includes an open air pavilion, restrooms, park furniture, landscaping, an outdoor bistro facility and lighting. Olean’s leadership is hopeful that it will revitalize the town center.
“What a better place to be at the center of a walkable community than a farmers' market. Farmers markets have a human scale that invites interaction to happen. We are excited for the future of Olean. Walkable Olean will stimulate the community and local business will see that,” Abbey Daugherty, a spokeswoman for Rep. Tom Reed, sad.
Mark Shindlebeck, president of the Rural Enterprise Association of Proprietors, detailed the long road that the Olean Farmers market has taken to get where it is today.
“Thirty years ago we started at the Jamestown Community College parking lot with just a few tables," he told those gathered. "Since that time, we have had a lot of vendors come and go. Over time, we have had to move around to a few different locations. Now we feel like we finally have a permanent home."
Olean Mayor William J. Aiello envisions the park as an epicenter for community growth.
“Lincoln Square gives us a place where we can mingle, gather and build our community," the mayor said. "When so much of our time involves screens and technology, it is so important that we have an open space to get outside and enjoy nature.”
Pointing to another name associated with Olean, Aiello proudly announced that he was cutting the ribbon with Cutco brand scissors.
The impact of Lincoln Square was apparent to the vendors who were enjoying the steady flow of customers. Alderman Kevin Dougherty, owner of Quinn’s Wake Coffee House at 108 N. Second St., has been a vendor at the Olean Farmers Market for three years.
“I hope today's turnout is a sign of greater use in a local farmers market," Dougherty said. "We were off the beaten path with the mall. A lot of people couldn’t find us but now we are centrally located. We were not expecting this many people, as you can tell. I ran out of coffee already.”
The new market location has not only facilitated the growth of more customers but also more vendors. Geena Tripodi, owner of Sage Health and Wellness, 1115 W. State St., made her Olean Farmers Market debut and said she plans on running a table for the rest of the season.
“The building is really beautiful, and anything that brings more people to downtown Olean is a great idea,” Tripodi, said.
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