Market receives state money to build restroom

Customers shop last year at the Hardin County Farmer’s Market. The market’s foundation received a grant from the Kentucky Agricultural Development Board to build restrooms at the facility.

The Hardin County Farmer’s Market has received grant funds from the Kentucky Agricultural Development Board that will be used to expand the facility in Elizabethtown.

The Hardin County Regional Farmers’ Market Foundation Inc. was approved for $32,400 from the state and $1,000 from Hardin County.

The foundation is using that money to add restroom facilities to the market pavilion.

“We’ve been wanting to do that from the moment we built the market pavilion but didn’t have funds at the time,” Larry Thomas said.

Thomas is a market board member, a vendor and serves as the Hardin County Regional Farmers’ Market Foundation president.

Because of COVID-19, Thomas said the vendors and board focused on the need to have a sanitary facility and that meant building bathrooms.

The Ag Development Board grant is a matching grant and Thomas said they are using local fundraising and money from Hardin County Farm Bureau, Nolin RECC’s roundup program and money donated from vendors to match the grant.

“The restrooms will give the vendors peace of mind that they can operate in a more sanitary way,” Thomas said. “It also gives extra options with the facility if someone wants to rent it for a function.”

This can expand the Peterson Drive facility’s use and have a little extra stream of money to help the market, he said.

The long-range plan is to also have the parking lot paved, Thomas said.

The foundation is quickly accepting bids and hopes to start building in February. The restrooms are projected to be complete by mid-April. While that’s not at the start of this season’s market, the hope is to have them ready when the season gets busy, Thomas said.

“We’re happy to see it finally coming about,” he said. “Any improvement is a plus for the community and market.”

Customers for the market grew quite a bit last season as people started looking for local suppliers during COVID-19, Thomas said. He expects that number to maintain and maybe even grow this year.

Throughout the state, the Kentucky Agri­cul­tural Development Board approved $1,319,895 for agricultural diversification and rural development projects.

Becca Owsley can be reached at 270-505-1740 or bowsley@thenewsenterprise.com.