Oakley City cancels L’Oakley Market
At the threshold of what would have been its second year of operation, the L’Oakley Community Market’s contract with the City of Oakley was cancelled. The market would have started July 12 and gone for six additional Saturdays this summer.
L’Oakley Market Executive Director Kate Boyd, spoke to the Oakley City Council meeting on March 6. She said that she and her sister Kimberly Kuehn were never informed that the contract was scheduled to be voted on.
"We were never notified that we were going to be on the agenda," Boyd said. "One year was great, but the reason [former] Mayor Blake Frazier signed a two-year contract is that we needed the two years to get the traction, and then after that, we [wouldn’t] need a contract anymore the market would sustain it."
Boyd said that the contract was terminated during the April 3 Oakley City Council meeting, which was rescheduled after the cancelled March 20 meeting. However, on the Utah Public Notice website, no agenda was posted for the April 3 meeting.
Oakley Mayor Wade Woolstenhulme did not return a request for comment, but Council member Eric Rose said the city decided to cancel the market’s contract because it was fiscally responsible.
"It’s costing us a lot more money than we would ever see out of it," Rose said. "We made a decision as a City Council that it wasn’t financially feasible."
Boyd said the L’Oakley Market was originally started when Summit County Assistant Manager Anita Lewis contacted Frazier. Oakley contracted with Silly Market, LLC, to start the market, granting them $10,000 in start-up funds.
"It’s a business decision on their part, and I have to respect that," Boyd said. "My personal [opinion] is that I worked very hard and everything went off well."
The 2013 L’Oakley Market featured numerous local vendors, including artists. Non-profit booths were also present, as were kids’ arts and crafts booths, Boyd said. Local farmers also had space to sell some of their harvest.
Karylyn Bliss, an Oakley artist who was signed up to be a vendor this year, said she is very disappointed with the city’s decision.
"Knowing full well that the first year of anything rarely makes a profit, I’m just disappointed that the city didn’t follow through on their two-year contract," Bliss said, who founded Chikamu Arts along with her daughter. The two design pottery, photography, artwork, custom jewelry and handcrafted cards.
Kathy Clinebell runs Laughing Light Emporium, which makes items such as rock sculptures and decorative hanging feng shui crystals, also would have been a vendor at this year’s market.
"I’m devastated. I don’t understand what [Oakley City] meant that it was economically unfeasible," Clinebell said. "I just knew this year was going to be even better. It’s just a real disappointment, truly."
Boyd emphasized that the L’Oakley Market wasn’t only a farmer’s market but a community market where artists on the East Side could showcase their talents. She said she already had five major farmers lined up for this year and had secured sponsorship money and applied for a Summit County Recreation, Arts and Parks tax grant.
All vendors that paid for space this year will be refunded, Boyd added. When she was recently in Kamas, Boyd was approached by several residents and a city official about the possibility of relocating the market to Kamas.
"I’m going to go look at property in Kamas," Boyd said. "I would love to see [the market] continue and have a future. It needs to be in the right place and with the right support."
Bliss wished Boyd all the best in relocating the market.
"I would hope Kate and her organization can come up with another venue if Oakley’s not going to step up to the plate," Bliss said.
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