EVERETT — After several years at Boxcar Park, the Everett Farmers Market is moving downtown starting Aug. 4.
Booths will stretch for one block along Wetmore Avenue between Hewitt Avenue and Wall Street. The market will still be held on Sundays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
“While beautiful, scenic and a fun place to shop, logistically, the (Boxcar) site is extremely challenging to get to and park, which causes frustration to market goers and other waterfront users,” said a statement released late Friday afternoon by the Port of Everett, the city and market owners.
The move comes as the port faced criticism for a new $2 parking fee at the Sunday market, which officials have said was needed to manage parking on the site. The charge is also collected at other events held on port property.
Several factors, including limited parking and future construction, prompted the exploration of other locations, Catherine Soper, the port’s public affairs manager, said in an email.
“While the fee is not popular and has no doubt added to an already frustrating parking experience, it isn’t the cause of the site constraints or a determining factor of the move,” Soper said.
The fee, instituted this year, didn’t sit well with many shoppers or Councilmember Brenda Stonecipher.
In early July, Stonecipher wrote a strongly worded letter asking the port to drop the fee, which she said discourages public access to the property.
Stonecipher argued that the charge didn’t make financial sense and many Everett residents were already paying taxes to the port as part of the taxing district.
“The parking situation down there was not working and the parking fee wasn’t making it better,” she said Saturday.
In the long run, Stonecipher said the move will benefit downtown businesses and access to the market will be easier for attendees who will have plenty of parking options.
Market officials are now working to adapt to the event’s new location.
“We’re shooting to have the same number of spaces, just a completely different configuration,” Gary Purves, co-owner and manager of the Everett Farmers Market, said Saturday.
He assumes next year the market will remain at the new space.
About 5,000 people attend the weekly market to shop at the 100 or so booths that sell fresh vegetables and fruits, baked goods and other prepared foods, and crafts. Approximately 200 vendors participate in the event over the course of a season, according to Purves.