BOONES MILL, Va. – An old lumber company in Boones Mill looks the same as it did when it closed in 2007. At the time, it was one of the biggest employers in the area laying off more than 150 people.
But a grant worth $110,000 will completely change the layout.
By next spring, it will be the location for a new indoor farmers market. The only one of its kind in the area.
"I think that's a real value. Something that's closer to Roanoke. And easy for farmers to get to. And then the real addition is the year around facility," Matt Lawless, town manager said.
Lawless says the farmers market will be in Village Park, a redevelopment site in town.
"We finished the renovation of one factory space already and have two new factories here. The historic train depot is under renovation now. And now the farmers market really continues to make this a home for a new small businesses," Lawless said.
With the town purchasing this building in 2011, it took them several years to decide what to do with the space. They had input from residents and farmers in the area.
"We're in a food desert and there's no grocery store nearby. And we hear from farmers that they needed a better place to sell their produce. And we heard from residents that they want access to quality foods. Such as meat and veggies," Lawless said.
The Boones Mill's farmers market will open next spring. So far five local farmers, three from Franklin, one from Bedford and one from Patrick counties are signing on to sell their produce in the market.
The Tobacco Commission funded the design of the building and the USDA will fund the construction taking place this fall and winter. Balzer Associates in Roanoke are the architects for this project.