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OVERLAND PARK, Kan. —The Overland Park Community Development Committee will soon issue a Request for Proposals for the Downtown Overland Park Farmers Market.

In the next few months, developers will submit proposals to build possible apartments in the parking lot of the farmers market at 7950 Marty Street. 

Dr. Faris Farassati represents the 5th ward for the Overland Park City Council. Farassati said the committee has not asked for feedback from the council or the public when it comes to the future plans for the farmers market. 

“We need to engage in a level of discussion before we ask for proposals to come in. We have our constituents that we need to protect.We have to listen to the voice of the people. If we engagement with accepting proposals before we as the elected officials have a chance to engage the community, I don’t that’s a path we want to pursue,” Farassati said.  

The market was moved from the downtown pavilion to the parking lot of the Matt Ross Community Center for the 2020 season to accommodate for social distancing during the pandemic. 

According to the Community Development Committee, the Overland Park Farmers’ Market will be located in the community center parking lot through September 2021.

Farassati said construction at the pavilion wouldn’t just affect the market, but local businesses that surround the pavilion. 

“It’s a very popular program. It’s an extremely popular program. It supports local businesses, especially small businesses. People are very proud of it. Before we envision any change to it, we need to highly engage the community.” 

Sandy Siecgrist has lived in Overland Park for nearly 17 years. She said the farmers market pavilion is a big part of the city’s culture, and the lack of transparency is leaving Overland Park residents out of the loop. 

“There’s other plans in the works that aren’t even being discussed with the citizens,”Siecgrist said. 

Siecgrist said she’s also concerned about potential speeding and traffic congestion on the roadways if any additional structure is placed in the pavilion parking lot. 

“When you only have so much space with the buildings, we’re just not equipped to have large amounts of traffic,”Siecgrist said.

City staff anticipate completion of the draft RFP by the end of June and will begin accepting proposals later this summer. 

Farassati said residents should reach out to their elected leaders to share their thoughts on the potential for future development at the pavilion. 

“The time to express their voice is right now in communication with their elected officials if they have a strong opinion about the future of the farmers market,” Farassati said.