Reprinted with permission from Potty County Community Development.
Potter County — A $41,400 state grant has been approved for development of the Market Village/Farmers Market in downtown Coudersport, according to the Potter County Commissioners. The funds will help to pay for construction of a plaza, pedestrian walkway and parking area; installation of utilities and interpretive signs; ADA access, landscaping, and other related site improvements.
The county’s Community Development Department and Planning Department have spearheaded the project with multiple partners. Their goal has been to address several of the priorities established in the Potter County Comprehensive Plan 2020-29 by establishing an open-air retail center and park on the county-owned vacant lot at the corner of East Second and North East streets.
A $4,500 grant from the Pennsylvania Wilds Planning Team allowed the planners to engage a landscape architect/engineer, whom conducted a feasibility study and developed a conceptual design.
Steering Committee co-chairs Will Hunt (Planning) and Ellen Russell (Community Development) describe the development as a semi-permanent “village” with multiple short-term rental spaces. The retail space will complement the Potter County Farmers Market, with the rental unit occupants marketing locally crafted items, agricultural goods, prepared food, or other products.
The committee looks to model the local park after the successful Tionesta Market Village in Forest County. It is envisioned to become a gathering place where live music and other entertainment as well as educational programs will be presented. The committee also believes that similar open-air markets could be developed in Galeton, Ulysses, Roulette and other Potter County towns.
The market village will also serve as an “incubator” for new businesses. Rentals will be available at low fees. Entrepreneurs and small business owners will be able to “pilot” their business ideas without the larger risk associated with a storefront. Once the business proves to be successful, it could conceivably move into an empty storefront to help revitalize the business district. Occupants of the Market Village would also direct visiting shoppers to establish downtown businesses.
Organizers are working with the Potter County Farmers Market to coordinate the use of the park; with Coudersport Borough, Eulalia Township and the Potter County Maintenance Department on site development; and with the Potter County Conservation District and other potential partners on educational programming. Additional details will be announced. An initial forecast calls for the market village to open in spring 2023.
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