State says farmers market road work unfinished -- Gazette.Net


The Maryland State Highway Administration wrote to the St. Mary’s County commissioners last week to tell them a road work permit at a farmers market had expired.

However, the road work is done, said Donna Sasscer, agricultural specialist for the St. Mary’s County Department of Economic and Community Development.

The Home Grown Farm Market opened in summer 2011 in a field at Route 235 and Forest Park Road in Lexington Park. St. Mary’s County government bought 169 acres there in 2006 for $2.5 million to help preserve rural lands south of Patuxent River Naval Air Station.

Because the farmers market entrance was off Route 235, SHA called for work to improve the road there.

The Dec. 10 letter from SHA said the roadwork permit expired on Oct. 22. To extend the permit, the county needed “to include a detailed, justified reason as to why the work has not yet been performed, along with a construction schedule that includes specific time you intend to begin, and finish the necessary road work.”

Sasscer said a SHA crew came out last Friday to sign off that the road improvements were completed. All that is left now is a surveyor’s letter certifying the work was built as planned, she said.

At a cost of $275,000, which the county commissioners supplied earlier this year, a short guardrail was installed along the entrance to the farmers market, Sasscer said. The northbound shoulder of Route 235 was torn up, the gravel underneath repacked, and the shoulder was repaved to serve as an acceleration and deceleration lane, she said.

The farmers market is currently open one day a week until the end of the month, on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. It closes on Dec. 29 for the season. Sasscer said winter lettuce, spinach, baked goods and local meats and cheeses are still on sale there from 12 vendors. The Port of Leonardtown Winery is one of the new vendors.

“We were really full after the first of November,” Sasscer said, after another farmers market closed for the season at the BAE Systems parking lot farther north in Lexington Park.

The Home Grown Farm Market cooperative members will meet again in February to determine when to open again in 2013. The date depends on how severe the winter is, she said. It could reopen in March.