Farmer’s market, ward map discussed at Urbana City Council

Discussion at Monday’s meeting of the Urbana City Council committee centered on the Market at the Square, Urbana’s farmer’s market, and a proposed ward map.

Lisa Bralts, director of the Market at the Square, and Robert Myers, planning manager, presented a resolution for the approval of a strategic plan for the market. This was a slightly revised form of the plan that was previously presented at the Aug. 22 city council meeting.

The plan was created “in order for the market to succeed in the long term” and to “ensure that future success is by design,” Myers said.

“One of the major implementation strategies is to create an advisory board,” Bralts said.

This board will include vendors that can better represent their needs and wishes, she said. Other future endeavors, such as longer hours, a longer season or adding an additional day during the week, will be examined by the plan.

Diane Marlin, Ward 7, motioned to send the resolution to the Nov. 7 council meeting. It passed unanimously.

Urbana’s proposed ward map was well-received by council members, though they mentioned a few concerns that were brought to their attention throughout the week.

Robert Lewis, Ward 3, suggested a version of the proposed map that would also show planned development in Urbana. He said this would better illustrate how the wards might change in the future.

Mayor Laurel Prussing noted that the ward redistricting does not require immediate action, and Charlie Smyth, Ward 1, among others, agreed to give the public more time to examine the proposed map and explore all possibilities. City Council voted unanimously to keep the resolution in committee.

Council members also discussed a resolution to fund the Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, or CVB, at $18,800 per year. They were divided on whether Urbana should continue to fund CVB or replace their role in promoting tourism with city staff.

Eric Jakobsson, Ward 2, presented CVB’s new website and pointed out areas he found unsatisfactory.

“There are no links; there’s no way to contact anybody,” he said. “The website is a mess.”

Several members agreed with this sentiment, though not all council members agreed with the separation from CVB.

“I think we do need to cooperate,” said Diane Marlin, Ward 7. “The whole is greater than the parts.”

Council members remained split at the end of the meeting, and the ordinance did not pass.