Creek Path and food center to open Saturday
By Gordon Dritschilo
Staff Writer | November 01,2012
Vyto Starinskas / Staff file Photo
Organizers and volunteers are shown earlier this summer at one of the weekly cleanup days at the site of the new winter farmers market on West Street in Rutland. The site is set to host its first winter farmers market Saturday.
Rutland gets new ways to go for a walk and to shop Saturday.
The day begins at 8:45 a.m. in Giorgetti Park with the ribbon-cutting at the first segment of the Creek Path. Participants then plan to walk along the path — including the unfinished but walkable second segment — to the Vermont Farmers Food Center, which opens its doors at 10 a.m., holding its grand opening with the first day of the winter farmers market.
While the walk was mentioned in press materials sent out about the path opening, organizer Paul Gallo said the connection to the food center was not an official part of the program.
“We’re not going to lead them there,” Gallo said. “Let’s put it this way: if you’re at the West Street Bridge and you’re a couple hundred yards from the farmers market, I’m sure some people are going to head on down.”
Construction on the West Street Bridge looked like it might prove a potential hitch in the plans. Public Works Commissioner Evan Pilachwoski said last week that the West Street Bridge project was expected to be completed Friday, in time for the bridge to reopen and offer a more direct passage to the market, as long as there were no weather delays.
Wednesday, he said Hurricane Sandy had not delayed the project and the bridge was still on track to reopen.
“The last update I got was around noon,” he said. “They’re still on schedule.”
Ten feet wide and paved, the Creek Path is intended to eventually stretch all the way to the College of St. Joseph. The first segment begins at Giorgetti Park and follows East Creek to State Street.
The second segment, which continues on to West Street, is scheduled for construction next summer.
“We’re moving forward one year at a time,” Gallo said.
The Vermont Farmers Food Center is a nonprofit entity created to purchase and renovate the former Mintzer property on West Street. The compound will serve as the new home of the winter farmers market and the Vermont Food Bank, and the organization has other culinary uses planned.
Organizer Martha Izzi said the market would have its own opening ceremony, with speakers, music and two videos — one showing how the property looked at the time of purchase and another tracking the transformation.
“It was unbelievable,” Izzi said. “It really looks quite different now.”
The ceremony will also include a tribute to the volunteers who have worked on the project.
“The big story on this is the volunteers and the donations — the time, the equipment, the materials,” Izzi said. “We have one guy — he’s been in there every Sunday and he’s been into some incredibly dirty work. Then he turned one day and he gave (them) a check.”
Like with the Creek Path, the center still has work to be done, Izzi said the Vermont Food Bank is awaiting the installation of refrigeration equipment before moving into its new space, and plans for other buildings are still under discussion.
The market will be open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Izzi said more than 60 vendors are signed up.
“There will be music,” she said. “There will be a lot of games for the children that show what can be done with food.”