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Longer market season a boon

The Denton Community Market has continued to grow in popularity since it was launched in April 2010, and we believe the City Council’s decision last week to adopt an ordinance extending the market’s season was a well-deserved vote of confidence.

Extending the season from six months to nine months means that the market will get started earlier in the spring and end later in the fall, which is good news for fans of this unique venue.

The market opens on Saturdays and is located on the southeast corner of Mulberry Street and Carroll Boulevard. The market offers local products such as jams, honey, baked goods, crafts and clothing.

In supporting calls for an extended season, council members said they have taken notice of the growth of the market and how it has evolved over the years with the addition of a variety of vendors.

“When it first started out, there were only a few cars,” said Jim Engelbrecht, District 3 council member. “Now there’s virtually no space out there and it’s always packed.”

“It’s a very unique feature to the city,” said Dalton Gregory, District 2 council member. “All of the food is local and there have been times where I’ve had completely Denton County meals.”

Vicki Oppenheim, a Denton Community Market coordinator, said she was happy about the extension and added that it will help the market maintain its mission.

“This year has just been incredible,” she said. “We have more and more businesses joining us, and most of them are local businesses.”

She said market coordinators are appreciative of the city and county’s support.

“We anticipate further growth and eventually we may have to begin looking at another space, but right now we’re doing well,” Oppenheim said.

Discussions about extending the market’s season began a year ago when market organizers expressed interest in adding more food vendors, including food trucks. At that time, existing city ordinances did not allow food trucks to park for longer than 15 minutes.

As a result, the city amended the ordinance to allow the trucks to operate in a less-restricted manner, said city planning supervisor Ron Menguita.

However, the duration of the market was not addressed, and organizers met with city officials, seeking clarity regarding permit durations. That resulted in the discussions that led to changing market permit durations.

Officials have called the market a celebration of Denton’s creativity and an expression of what the city represents.

“Denton’s historical center has been the agricultural market. It’s a wonderful element to our city,” Mayor Mark Burroughs said. “[It makes] you proud that your city hasn’t grown too big to appreciate local farmers, local growers and local vendors.”

We agree. In our view, the market is one of many unique features that help make Denton a great place to live and a favored destination among travelers from throughout the area.

Extending the market’s season should help keep the local flavor flowing.