Farmers market, new park nearly ready to rumble

Residents soon will be able to use the new Town Square Plaza Park in downtown Kent, when the Kent Farmers Market opens June 7.

David Jones with Fox Electric works on  Town Square Plaza Park’s main circuit board

David Jones with Fox Electric works on Town Square Plaza Park’s main circuit board

Residents soon will be able to use the new Town Square Plaza Park in downtown Kent, when the Kent Farmers Market opens June 7.

A final, small section of concrete will be poured in the fountain area within the next week or two to complete all of the concrete work at the city’s newest park, said City of Kent Parks Director Jeff Watling May 21.

“It will be operational for the market,” Watling said.

The 34,500-square foot urban park, just west of Second Avenue North between West Smith Street and West Harrison Street, had been slated to open in April after an earlier target date of December 2007.

The delays were caused when city officials and the contractor had to come up with a smaller design for the rest room and mechanical room at the park to keep the building within the initial budget of $300,000.

The market will run from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. each Saturday through Sept. 27. As many as 40 farmers, food, craft and other vendors will be featured.

City officials decided last year to go ahead with construction of the park, which originally had been proposed to be the third phase of Project Springboard, a plan to build a parking garage, condominiums, a hotel and retail shops on the property right next to the plaza.

City officials continue to search for a developer to take over that stalled project after Plan B Development ran out of money in May 2007. The unfinished parking garage sits at the corner of Fourth Avenue and West Smith Street.

The temporary fencing at the park will be taken down by the first week of June, Watling said.

Work continues on a small building at the park that will house a rest room as well as a mechanical room to operate three fountains with spray jets. The building is slated to be painted within the next week, but it remains uncertain when the city will be able to operate the fountains, Watling said.

Puget Sound Energy still must install a transformer to run the fountains and the city continues to wrap up final testing to receive an electrical permit from the State Department of Labor and Industries in connection with the state code on operating the fountains.

The plaza will feature a fountain with a floating green, granite sphere about 5 feet in diameter donated by the Kent Rotary Club and the Kent Sunrise Rotary Club. Seattle Solstice will install the movable sphere, similar to projects it built at Green River Community College in Auburn and the Pacific Science Center in Seattle.

“The water supply to the sphere is independent of the other fountains so that will be operational (by June 28),” Watling said. “The sphere will be installed in the coming weeks.”

City officials plan a dedication ceremony on June 28 for Town Square Plaza Park.

In addition to hosting the farmers market, the park also will be used for the city’s annual noontime Wednesday Picnic Performances starting July 9 and serve as the main stage for Kent Cornucopia Days July 10-13.

“It will be a great venue for that,” Watling said.

The plaza hosted its first event during the 2007 holiday season when a temporary tent housed the Morford Family Carousel.

JV Constructors Inc., of Seattle, received the $3.42 million contract last year from the city to build the plaza.

Contact Steve Hunter at 253-872-6600, ext. 5052 or shunter@reporternewspapers.com.

For more information:

Kent Farmers Market

When: 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturdays, June 7-Sept. 27.

Where: Town Square Plaza, corner of Second Avenue and Smith Street.

Details: www.kent

farmersmarket.com.


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