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Kerr County commissioners turn back bid by rival farmer's market to use the courthouse grounds

The proposed Heart of the Hills Farmer's Market wanted to operate a year-round market at the corner of Main and Sidney Baker streets.

The Kerr County Commissioner's Court rejected a request by a farmer's market to set up shop on Saturdays at the courthouse. The operator also earned a rebuke from Pct. 1 Commissioner Harley David Belew for what he described as misleading him about the market's association with the Kerrville Farmer's Market.

The commissioner's, in turn, suggested that Joe Martin, who leads Heart of the Hills Farmer's Market, move his proposed operation to either Union Church or the River Star Park in Kerrville. In 2017, the court rejected a similar request by Kayte Graham, who operates the Kerrville Farmer's Market at the city-owned Butt-Holdsworth Memorial Library.

Martin told the commissioners he wanted to be on the corner of Main and Sidney Baker streets because of the high visibility. Martin estimated there would be 48 vendors but said he didn't have that many yet.

However, the commissioners had two problems with the presentation: the county needs to charge for long-term events and confusion about the markets. Typically those long-term events, like Kerr County's Swapmeet and Market Days, are housed at the Hill Country Youth Event Center due to a management agreement. Secondly, Belew said he was under the impression the Kerrville Farmer's Market was requesting a move from Friday to Saturday and the courthouse.

"I have a problem with what you told me Joe on the phone, that this is the Friday event moving," Belew said. "Either I misunderstood you or you told me something that isn't quite right."

Martin said the Kerrville Farmer's Market would have to move due to construction at the Schreiner/Schellhase Mansion grounds, where the market is held.

Martin clarified that he's not representing the Kerrville Farmer's Market but leading a rival operation.

Belew withdrew a second on a motion to allow the market to move forward.

"I don't think this has been represented properly," Belew said. Without the second, the motion failed, but Martin was encouraged by Pct. 4 Commissioner Don Harris and Kerr County Judge Rob Kelly to seek an alternative venue.


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