The Residents of Old Town Group met Thursday, Sept. 22 and discussed a number of issues including the last day of the Old Town Farmers Market (Oct. 2).
The ROOT Group was started in the winter of 2009, said Brittney Hoszkiw, the executive director of the Old Town Commercial Association. The group addresses issues “dictated by the members and their interests,” said Hoszkiw. Community empowerment is the main focus, she said. The group consists of residents, police officers and business owners in the area. Though the group includes police officers, Hoszkiw said they do not discuss crime, but leave those discussions to area Neighborhood Watch groups.
Two of the main focuses of the ROOT Group are the maintenance of the Old Town Community Garden and the Old Town Farmer’s Market, said Mike Davis Jr., president of the group. The garden, located on the corner of N. Cedar and E. Maple streets, grows flowers and fruits and vegetables.
Davis said the ROOT Group is renovating the garden. A Lowe’s Home Improvement store donated a shed, he said.
“We are hoping for some pavers very soon,” Davis said. “We are also working on a rain collection system from the shed.”
The group also supports the Old Town Farmers Market, which is held on the first Sunday of every month. Davis said that the last month’s market attracted a large number of customers. The market features vendors selling produce, cheeses, meats and fish.
“The market helps to bring people to the community,” said Ruben Garcia, a vendor who sells at the market. “Especially since the Art Walk is also on the same day. It brings double the traffic.” Garcia sells hot sauces, cheeses, cheese sauces and chips.
Garcia suggested that the Market should be moved to a later time. With the art walk, morning church goers, and the market all working together, the events could form a steady stream of traffic in the community, he suggested.
Ingham County Treasurer Eric Schertzing spoke in an earlier interview, and said that in order to revitalize the Old Town community, foot traffic through walkable areas is a key. With many other businesses located within less than 500 feet, including Favorites Café, Katalyst Gallery, Persperctive2 Studio, Love, Betti and many other restaurants and boutique shops, the market brings that foot traffic.