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Damaged West Allis Farmers Market to undergo repairs caused by a van crashing into one of its walls

Damage to the West Allis Farmers Market was extensive when a vehicle hit the older part of the structure last June.

Damage to the West Allis Farmers Market was extensive when a vehicle hit the older part of the structure last June.

April 29, 2014

West Allis — As the West Allis Farmers Market opens a new season Saturday, May 3, the plan is to restore it to original condition after a minivan hit a wall of the older section, collapsing it and part of the roof.

"I think it's the right decision," said West Allis Mayor Dan Devine. Other options were explored such as upgrading or adding seating, he said. But the market is popular and has been working well so the decision was to leave well enough alone, he said.

Restoring the market to its original form presented challenges that took time to explore. For example, some of the metal roof braces aren't made anymore.

The city won't know for sure if it can restore the market to its original form until bids are opened in a few weeks.

The city's insurance carrier will pay for the work and then seek reimbursement to whatever extent possible from the minivan driver, Devine said.

After the crash last June, some farmers were displaced and the same thing will happen to them this season.

"It will be a minor headache this year," Devine said of the construction that probably won't happen until mid or late summer.

The same farmers who were affected last year will be moved again this season.

"At least two will move to the west edge of the parking lot," said Dan Koralewski, community health environmentalist who also oversees the market, 1559 S. 65th St. A third probably will have only half his stall, he said.

"They'll be in a different spot, but it's not like they'll be out in left field," Koralewski said. He fully appreciates that people won't walk across the lot for just two sellers, he said.

Depending on when construction actually starts, the farmers could occupy stalls temporarily empty even though the market itself is fully booked, Koralewski said. For example, some farmers don't sell melons that come late in the season so their stalls would be free, he said.

"We'll have to play it by ear," he said.

AT A GLANCE

WHAT: the West Allis Farmers Market

WHEN: starting its 2014 season May 3. Saturday hours 1 to 6 p.m.; Tuesdays and Thursdays, noon to 6 p.m.

WHERE: 1559 S. 65th St.

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