POTTER COUNTY — The county received the PA Wilds Planning Team Rapid Response Design Assistance grant to expand and develop the area where the Potter County Farmers Market is currently located in Coudersport.

Will Hunt, the county’s planning/GIS director, said the plan for the funds is to build semi-permanent facilities that would allow for agriculture, retail and food sales to be more prominent on the site. He said they want to continue the farmers market at this location and hopes that with the improvements to the area, more opportunities will come to the farmers market.

This is based on the Tionesta Market Village in Forest County, which is a market made up of shed-like structures that is owned by the Chamber of Commerce and leased out to entrepreneurs. The back end of the sheds are taken out and a storefront is created. The Tionesta Market Village was modeled after the seasonal kiosks in shopping malls during the holidays.

The idea to bring something like this to Potter County has been in talks for months and was included in the county’s comprehensive plan. The Commissioners said they were excited to see a part of the comprehensive plan be put into action, as some comprehensive plans often “gather dust” and aren’t referenced as often as intended.

The county was awarded $4,800 for the project and the goal is to have little to no cost to the taxpayers. Ideally, this area will be self-sustaining and any yearly maintenance on the structures will be captured in a lease agreement with the “tenant.” Hunt said the number of facilities has yet to be determined and will most likely take a conservative approach and build it based on popularity and demand of the buildings.

Hunt said Potter County was the first county and organization to be awarded these funds. Any invoices that occur will be passed to the PA Wilds planning team; the county will not retain these funds.

The county and planning department are in the very early stages of planning, but hope to have something ready for spring/summer of 2021. Looking forward, Hunt said Galeton, Roulette and Ulysses have indicated they would be interested in expansion into those areas.