Farmers Market organizers ‘optimistic’ about move to Wilton Center

WILTON — Organizers are excited to have secured a new location for the Wilton Farmers' Market, which will be held Wednesday afternoons in Wilton Center on the Town Green starting June 1.

The Planning and Zoning Commission gave final approval to the market’s new location on Monday, which is leaving its initial lot at the Wilton Historical Society and leasing the new downtown space gratis from Paragon Management Group, which leases the land from the town.

“We're very optimistic about this move,” Camille Carriero, director of the market, as well as executive director of the Wilton Chamber of Commerce, said on Wednesday. “It'll benefit not just the vendors at the farmers market, but all the local businesses in town.”

While the market has enjoyed a fruitful relationship with the historical society, organizers have sought to centralize in a location with more foot traffic that could also benefit other local commerce within walking distance.

“We started 12 years ago and it started at the library initially,” said Carriero, who took over as director just a few years ago.

While it provided ample parking, the society's location on Danbury Road was not conducive to pedestrian visitors.

“We believe that this relocation will increase foot traffic to the market, promote surrounding businesses in Wilton Center, provide a venue for community gatherings and promote amenities in Wilton Center,” Carriero explained to P&Z.

Commissioners, who unanimously approved the open-ended lease, expressed mostly cheer at the change.

“I love that this is moving to Wilton Center,” said Chair Rick Tomasetti, suggesting that the market try to expand to one or two Saturdays each month as well to foster visitors.

Commissioner Christopher Pagliaro agreed. “I like generating a buzz. I like generating foot traffic and vehicular traffic in the village,” he said.

As the P&Z is currently crafting a new Master Plan for the downtown area, commissioners said this kind of change was right in line with what they're hoping to achieve.

“We are excited to be relocating the farmers market to Wilton Center,” said Susan Goldman, president of the chamber board. “Not only will this new location help to showcase the variety of vendors and all they have to offer, but it will also bring awareness to our many fine restaurants and retail establishments located in Wilton Center.”

Carriero explained that two nearby properties were making their lots available for market parking, as attendees would be prohibited from parking at certain locations, including the Village Market lot.

Signs will be posted accordingly, Carriero said.

People will be invited to park at the Piersall Building lot to the north of the green, which is owned by MCL Ventures, and Fairfield County Bank is allowing use of some spaces to the south of the green.

Vendors, who will number close to two dozen, will be dropping off their wares at the green, then leaving their vehicles behind the chamber's offices at the nearby Barringer Building to park.

While she spoke in favor of the event, Commissioner Florence Johnson raised a question about the impact of the weekly event on the grass and green itself.

“I'm just wondering if it's appropriate for the level of use,” she said.

Town Planner Michael Wrinn said he didn't believe it would cause a problem, but also pointed out that there was really nowhere else to hold events downtown.

"If we can't do events here, we're going to be very hard-pressed to do any events in that downtown area," he said.