Donation for: Ashland Beautification Fund
In 1999, the Ashland Area Council of Garden Clubs, with representatives from garden clubs in the community, began the planning process for a new farmers’ market. Three goals were utmost in the minds of the planners: One, that the market would be held in a downtown Ashland location; two, that the market would be held in the middle of the week to supplement the Saturday morning farmers’ market already in existence; and three, that the proceeds would be used for the council’s beautification projects. In 2000, with the permission of the city of Ashland, the Mid-Week Farmers’ Market began its inaugural season in Parking Lot B off Claremont Avenue. For the next 12 years, the Mid-Week Farmers’ Market was held every Wednesday, rain or shine, from June until October. Run solely by garden club volunteers, the market was successful in supporting the garden council’s ongoing projects. These included the re-landscaping of the Arts Center on Center Street in 2001, Kinnamon Park in 2003 and Parking Lot J in 2004. Arbor Day tree plantings and the yearly cleaning and mulching of the downtown flower beds in the public parking lots, among other projects, were also funded by the Mid-Week Farmers’ Market. In 2009, the Ashland Beautification Fund was created with strict guidelines that the income be used for beautification projects with first priority given to the downtown area. The fund provides annual income to the mayor’s office to be used at its discretion. For example, the money has been used toward the purchase of the hanging baskets and flower pots throughout the downtown. The Ashland Area Council of Garden Clubs is no longer in existence. However, the mission of the Mid-Week Farmers’ Market is perpetuated through the Ashland Beautification Fund. Unique in its origin and designation, the citizens of Ashland and visitors to our city will continue to benefit from the beautification projects it funds.