By Dean Vaglia
Leader Staff Writer
Oxford Township Parks and Recreation secured a $100,000 Oakland County grant for a farmers market at Seymour Lake Township Park.
Awarded on Wednesday, April 6, the grant will be used to cover about a third of the cost to build a 4,000 square-foot open-air pavilion for a farmers market and paving a drop-off loop in front of the pavilion, several disabled parking spaces and pathways from nearby parking lots to the pavilion.
The pavilion will have electricity to accommodate sellers with refrigerated and frozen goods. The electricity will be partially generated via a photovoltaic thermal (PVT) array donated by Oxford-based Power Panel.
“Traditional solar technology just converts sunlight into electricity, and there is a large quantity of untapped thermal energy,” C.J. Carnacchio, Oxford Township communications and grants manager, said. “So rather than let the heat energy go to waste, Power Panels’ PVT modules harness it and use it to create hot water via [its] cooling system.”
Hot water generated from the PVT array will be used in the Kids Kingdom restrooms.
Construction has yet to be scheduled, but Carnacchio believes the work will begin in June and end by September.
“It is not going to be ready to go for the summer, but if we get it going by September it will be opening where we can have it for the fall harvest,” Carnacchio said.
The farmers market will initially operate on Saturdays in the spring through fall. Expansion is possible if demand calls for it. The SNAP food assistance program will be accepted at the market, and the “Double Up Food Bucks” program will match fruit and vegetable purchases up to $20. Food grown in the community garden will be available in the market.
The farmers market is the only of its kind in Oxford Township, taking the place of roadside stands and other pop-up markets. The Village of Oxford operates a farmers market, though it does not have a permanent venue.
“It is something that I have always wanted to have done here,” Oxford Township Park and Recreation director Ron Davis said. “Lo and behold it came out toward the end of my career, so it worked out great.”
The pavilion will be open for other uses when the market is not operating.
Since the farmers market will be built where the basketball court is, a new court will be built elsewhere in the park.
“They are going to be back by the Smith Silo area, somewhere near the back of the park,” Davis said. “That is the only open flat space we have that would make it feasible financially to do.”
Nets will be moved to the new court once it is ready. The new court is not covered by the grant.
Farmers looking to take part in the township’s farmers market can provide their information to Oxford Township Park and Recreation at 248-628-1720.