Town Council discusses project updates

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By Shaina Stockton

INDEPENDENCE — The Independence Town Council received updates from town organizations and Town Manager Reid Walters during their July 9 meeting.
During his monthly report, Walters announced that the US Department of Agriculture has offered to grant Independence $175,000 for the construction of the Independence Farmers’ Market.
Walters stated that he has compiled information needed for the letter of conditions. This information has been submitted for consideration.
Rural Business Development would be the funding source, Walters stated.
Walters also noted that the Independence Fourth of July Celebration went well, with an impressive turnout during the town’s annual parade.
It was stated during the meeting that an estimated 10,000 people lined the streets of Independence to see the parade this year.
Walters thanked the town’s public works department and police department for their coordination. He noted that next year’s celebration will mark the 170th anniversary of the town’s Independence Day Celebration.

In other action:

Kathy Cole provided an update on the Free Market of Independence.
According to Cole, the Free Market is averaging about 48 people per day.
In operation since 2017, the market is continuing to provide relief to local landfills by encouraging people to take items such as paper, cardboard boxes, stationary, craft supplies and other items to the market; where others may find use for them.
The Free Market located at 1173 N. Independence Ave., and is maintained by Grayson LandCare volunteers. It is open Wednesdays and Thursdays from 1-5 p.m. and Fridays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Cole noted that donors recently provided the market with security cameras, which they are setting up to enforce their “no dumping” rule. Cole shared that, despite previously stating that all items must be approved by volunteers before they are left at the market, that people have been dumping items in front of the building when no one is there.
Cole asked that people be respectful of the rules and drop off donations during business hours at the market, when someone is present to look the items over for approval.
Michelle Pridgen also provided an update for the Independence Farmers’ Market.
At the council meeting, Pridgen stated that over the past two markets, they had 26 vendors and had seen more than 325 individuals.
Pridgen also noted that they had just gotten five new vendors.