Starting this summer, residents of Cottonwood and the surrounding area will have a place to buy fresh produce, homemade items, have a meal outdoors and just get out of the house and mingle.
"It's a city-owned farmers market," said Denise Aamodt. "I'd been thinking about it for two years, but I approached the city about it a month ago, and they were excited by it."
Aamodt recruited Jackie Turner at the Southwest Initiative Foundation.
"Denise contacted me to see if I was interested in helping her determine the feasibility of a farmers market in Cottonwood," Turner said. "With my background in small business development, I jumped at the opportunity to be a part of this. We started by writing a business plan, and our vision took a life of its own. I love the idea of creating more commerce and awareness in Cottonwood."
It didn't take the city long to get on board.
"Denise approached me and (City Clerk) Kathy Dahl and explained how she was working with Jackie and the city of Hoffman and how it was a growing trend nationwide," said Charlie Seipel, community development coordinator with the Cottonwood Economic Development Association.
According to Aamodt, the movement to create farmers markets of this kind is a reaction to the decline in community involvement in recent years.
"I think we need something to bring people together and get people out and doing things together," Aamodt said.
The first Central Park Market will be June 19. The market will be open Wednesdays from 4:30-6:30 p.m. and will feature produce and craft vendors, $6 meals and entertainment featuring local bands, singers and book signings.
The first meal on opening day is on the city.
"The city contributed the seed money to get it started," Seipel said. "One of the things in our city's comprehensive plan is to increase community involvement, and the city saw it as a great way to get people involved and get them into town."
The market will run from June until mid-October.
"The Central Park Market will not only engage our community, but it will bring new people to Cottonwood who will perhaps come back to enjoy other amenities we have to offer," Turner said. "The community of Cottonwood has so much to offer; we are excited for the opportunity to showcase that."