City officials last week finalized a deal to sell the City Farmers Market on West Church Street so it can be turned into a distillery and brewery.
But the mayor and city council members emphasized they're trying to find a new site for the historic operation after spending years trying to help the market as it dealt with a declining number of vendors and other challenges.
Hagerstown City Councilman Bob Bruchey said during a council meeting Tuesday night that it was time to make a final decision about the building.
Farmers market building 'out of road'
"We have kicked this problem, which is the farmers market, down the road for 40 years. And we're out of road," Bruchey said.
Bruchey added that the decision to sell the building at 25 W. Church St. to a Brunswick, Md., brewery owner was not made out of haste or emotion, but "facts."
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Bruchey and Mayor Emily Keller said they are trying to find another location for the farmers market, known as the oldest continually operating market of its kind in Maryland.
Keller said the city has received a lot of comments about keeping the market running. Bruchey said he thinks the city will be successful in finding another site for it.
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"It's not our intention to close the farmers market," Keller said.
The council on Tuesday unanimously approved an ordinance authorizing the sale of the farmers market building and a parking lot for $400,001 to David Blackmon.
Blackmon, who is also planning a winery and cidery in the building, is expected to invest more than $1 million into the business which will be known as Hub City Brewery.
The ordinance authorizing the sale goes into effect Dec. 24, but that is not when transfer of ownership of the property will occur. That is expected early next year.
City officials said market vendors will be given at least 30 days notice prior to transfer of ownership.
Besides trying to find a new location for the farmers market, the council also previously approved a $1,500 relocation incentive for vendors who might want to move elsewhere in the city.
To be eligible for the relocation incentive, vendors must meet certain requirements, including that they relocate within city limits and that a lease for a new space extends for at least one year.
Besides his product line, Blackmon is also planning "community-based entertainment" in the parking lot that will feature events such as festivals, move nights and car shows.
Although it's not clear everything that will be offered in the building, Blackmon said in an application to buy the property that a trend in the alcohol industry is offering a "triple play." A triple play involves a brewery and taproom, winery and distillery in one spot.
Blackmon also said he is planning to team up with McCutcheon's Apple Products to produce locally sourced ciders at the Hagerstown location. He has a former Flying Dog Brewery employee who will head up the distillery division.
Blackmon's Brunswick operation is known as Smoketown Brewing Station, and he has two other locations in Frederick.
This article originally appeared on The Herald-Mail: City tries to find new farmers market location given brewery project