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Saturday farmers market moving into J.B. Wise pavilion

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Maria P. Matiz-Mix and the other venders of the Watertown Saturday farmers market won’t have to worry about pitching tents or having to be in the incessant heat anymore.

The farmers market is moving to its new home under the city’s pavilion in the J.B. Wise parking lot on Saturday. The market has been held on the sidewalk along the lot since mid-June but has not yet used the new structure.

The group will pay the city $50 per day to use the pavilion.

“We’re all looking forward to being down there,” said Ms. Matiz-Mix, who runs Garden Hill Farms in Champion.

The walkway, with its 34-foot-by-100-foot steel frame and metal roof, was built at a cost of $205,000 as part of a $2.4 million reconfiguration of the J.B. Wise parking lot, which now officially has been completed with the installation of a permeable paving material around the pavilion.

Starting in 1999, the Saturday Farmers Market had been held in a parking lot at the Alex T. Duffy Fairgrounds, where vendors were not protected from the sun, rain and wind.

From mid-June to the first of November, as many as 15 vendors offer their baked goods, artwork, other products and locally grown fruits and vegetables at the market. Market organizers are counting on the J.B. Wise parking lot location to attract more customers living in and around downtown.

“We’re hoping it will bring people downtown and to the river,” said Michael A. Lumbis, senior planner in the city Planning Department who helped oversee the pavilion and parking lot projects.

As for the farmers market run by the Greater Watertown-North Country Chamber of Commerce on Wednesdays, city officials said that market will remain at its current location along Washington Street.

The city hopes to offer other future events that could be held at the covered walkway and adjoining sidewalk.

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