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The Lyons Farmers Market in Clinton is shown in this August 2022 photo. The Clinton City Council this week approved a bid to construct a pavilion for the farmers market.

CLINTON – Construction of the Lyons Farmers Market pavilion took another step forward this week after the Clinton City Council unanimously awarded a contract to Worm’s Home Improvement.

The decision comes nearly three years after the idea of the pavilion originated from within the Lyons Business & Professional Association in partnership with Clinton’s Hometown Pride Committee. After a lengthy discussion Tuesday night about the $540,215.55 bid, which came in much higher than the project’s $483,000 budget, the council learned the project’s specifications will be modified and the cost of the project will come in lower as a result.

LBPA leaders have long been discussing a pavilion for the Lyons Farmers Market, which draws vendors and shoppers to the Lyons district twice a week throughout the summer and fall.

“It started out by an anonymous donation of about $14,000, and that’s when we decided to build,” LBPA member Sheralyn Bartels recalls.

She and fellow LBPA member Brenda Thornton then took it upon themselves to see what they could do to raise the rest of the estimated $80,000 to $120,000 needed to complete the project. As the concept continued to develop, though, the project became more involved and required more funding.

They received donations from local businesses, a $30,000 grant from the Edith Curtis Armstrong and Florence E. Curtis Foundation, and an initial $75,000 investment from the city to get the project started. The LBPA’s first grant application to the Clinton County Development Association was rejected, which delayed the project from progressing for about a year.

“The original application included that the pavilion would be on the northeast section of Four Square Park,” ex officio CCDA member and At-large Clinton City Councilman Gregg Obren explains. “And there was nothing in the application that said the City of Clinton, owner of the property, gave the go-ahead to put it there.”

As further changes and additions to the project were made, it was decided the structure would cover Roosevelt Street instead of the park. A gaming grant from the CCDA was eventually awarded, following the change in location, in the amount of more than $58,000 last year. After many studies were conducted, Bartels says, the city provided the remaining funding needed.

City documents indicate the Lyons Business & Professional Association raised $213,000 for the project while the City of Clinton Finance Committee reallocated funds from other projects totaling $270,000.

“It’s been a long process in making sure that we got everything we needed,” Bartels says. “The nice thing about it is it will actually be something that the whole town can use.”

The open-air structure will not have side walls, but rather stalls providing room for close to 20 vehicles to be able to pull in on either side of the street, allowing for customers of the farmers market to move on the street between. The structure will include lights and electricity on each supporting pole.

Bartels says the structure is essentially simple in design but will incorporate unique characteristics.

“Since we were a lumber city,” she says, “we wanted to use some special wooden touches for signage and things like that to remind people of the heritage up there.”

Outdoor restrooms have become part of the project as well, for which Obren says the city allotted $150,000. This amount was decided on with consideration given to the need for necessary plumbing not currently present in the park, although an idea that Obren says he believes is gaining traction is the placement of the restrooms on the side of the park where the library is located instead of building them next to the pavilion. There, plumbing is already present, which would significantly lower costs.

Groundbreaking is expected to occur this spring. LBPA President Chad Jensen says he’d think it possible for construction to be completed within a few months, but due to possible delays in obtaining needed materials or those due to possible bad weather in the coming seasons, he says he is cautiously optimistic.

Once completed, Jensen believes the pavilion’s full potential will be realized.

“The main purpose, of course, is the farmers market, which will get the most use out of it, but perhaps we can move some of the other Lyons events down there,” he says. “I’m also thinking that once it’s there we’re going to learn all kinds of new uses that we haven’t even thought of yet.”

Herald Editor Charlene Bielema contributed to this report.

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