Columbus gets $500K grant to de-contaminate old farmer’s market

Columbus gets $500K grant to de-contaminate old farmer’s market

COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - If you grew up in Columbus near Victory Drive, you may remember a farmer’s market on the corner of 10th Ave. and 4th St. While the plot of land does not have anything going on now, that could soon change.

This abandoned land may soon get the clean-up it deserves. Mayor Skip Henderson said today Columbus received a $500,000 grant to get this area ready for development.

Driving past this old farmer’s market on 10th Ave., you may not know the history behind what used to be here. But Columbus native Charles Hildreth does.

“My mother and I came down here back in the 1960s," Hildreth said, "and the farmers would bring their produce down here and sell it.”

He said people used to flock to this market for the best produce money could buy.

“I was told by one of the farmers that used to come down here to sell produce that only Georgia grown produce could be sold here. Nothing from out of the state could be brought here and sold,” Hildreth said.

Hildreth said slowly but surely farmers stopped coming. “Then one day I was coming by here and everything was locked up.”

Columbus Mayor Skip Henderson said about six months ago they did an investigation, collected samples from the land and ran some tests when they discovered contaminants.

“But we just were awarded a $500,000 remediation grant," Henderson said, "so that goes for remediation of the contaminants found on the old farmer’s market property.”

He said this will help prepare the property for development. Ideas for a community garden, a green space and new retail have been presented but nothing has been set in stone. Hildreth would love to see this old farmer’s market returned to its former glory.

“When you’re buying produce that’s freshly grown," Hildreth said. "I mean it just don’t get no better than that.”

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