The Springfield News Leader just ran this article on the latest development on Republic Road…Below is the link, but I copied and pasted it for your convenience…
To embrace the obvious pun — plans for a new farmers market and a surrounding retail development in south Springfield are blooming.
Matt O’Reilly originally hoped for at least 50 vendors at the Farmers Market of the Ozarks on East Republic Road.
To date, around 65 vendors have signed up to be part of the venture, slated to open soon.
“We expected it to be awesome, but this has been unbelievably awesome,” O’Reilly said.
There are essentially two pieces to the project: the farmers market and the surrounding retail and office development.
The development as a whole — called Farmer’s Park — is expected to take a big step forward Monday when the Springfield City Council will vote to allow land owned by the city to be sold to O’Reilly. From there, the city and O’Reilly expect to move forward in the formal buying process as well as rezoning the land.
To sell the property to O’Reilly, the city was required to open bids to see if anyone else was interested in buying the land. No one submitted proposals during the required time frame, according to a letter from Economic Development Director Mary Lilly Smith to Springfield City Council.
The city property itself will not be developed, O’Reilly said. Instead, it will be greenspace surrounding the retail development.
The farmers market has been in the works for about a year. The hope is to open a temporary market in early April focused on local farmers and artisans while a permanent pavilion is constructed on the property.
A grand opening for the market is scheduled for April 7, which will include a variety of activities, entertainers and educational opportunities focused on local food.
The market will be located on East Republic Road between Houlihan’s South and the Hilton Garden Inn
The plan for a new farmers market on the south side of Springfield sparked controversy earlier this year.
The Greater Springfield Farmers Market reacted to the announcement of Matt O’Reilly’s planned Farmers Market of the Ozarks by requiring a no-compete clause for its vendors.
Originally, the GSFM announced members would decide whether to require a no-compete clause for vendors at the existing market.
After accusations of a “third party” influencing the vote, the GSFM board decided to implement the clause without a member vote.
The decision sparked frustration with several vendors, who ultimately left the GSFM for the new market.