Friday Morning, Morden City Council held a special meeting to approve the closure of 8th street, from Stephen St to the northerly portion of the back lane, the area known to many as the "Suncatch Stage', where the weekly Farmer's Markets and Morden Corn & Apple stage entertainment take place to create a Market Square for public use throughout the summer. The idea was brought to council by the two newest members.
Here is the motion made by Councilor Lassnig and seconded by Councilor Sheldon Friesen.
"WHEREAS several events take place in the area of "downtown" known to many residents as the Suncatch, such as the weekly Farmer’s Market, the Crocus Realty Suncatch Series, and the Morden Corn and Apple Festival. AND WHEREAS this area has welcomed many residents, families, extended families, and out-of-town guests to enjoy the sounds of summer.AND THAT Council for the City of Morden sees the benefit of a downtown public space to bring the community together and the positive impact it will bring to our downtown business community."
BE IT RESOLVED that Council for the City of Morden approves the closure of 8th Street from Stephen Street to the northerly portion of the back lane so as not to restrict traffic flow through the back lane from May 17th through September 17th, 2023."
Lassnig explained the unanimous decision to approve the motion.
"We talked about closing part of 8th St. between Stephen St. and the back lane, seasonally. It won't be a permanent closure. It will be a closure that goes from the middle of May till the middle of September to create a gathering space for people to have the Farmers Market, to have food trucks downtown, just to generate a bit of a gathering space and social awareness downtown in Morden. So, people can come for the lunch breaks, can have some parties..."
The trial closure will start May 17th and run until Sept 17th, when the weather gets cooler.
Lassnig shared the purpose of the closure.
"This space is created by us, as a trial to see if there is enough appetite in the community to have something like a Market Square. One traffic free, half block where kids can run around safely, where people can gather, have food, have drinks, enjoy music, enjoy the summer outside."
Traditionally this area is used for a few regular events throughout the summer months but the council is hoping to expand its usage opportunities to other organizations and the whole community
"What we have right now is a Suncatch Concert Series, which is every three weeks on a Friday, and we have the Farmer's Market every Thursday, and our wish was to extend that to the community to say if you have any other ideas and you want to use that space, it's up for free to use."
Austrian Immigrant Lassnig said Market Squares in Europe are in every community and it gives space for communities to come together to create, learn and connect and try new things to bring the community together and enjoy the summer weather.
"It's really up to the community. We're giving that call out to the community to come forward. Maybe there's a group of Ukrainian residents that say, 'We would like to have a party.' I'm pretty sure there will be some sort of initiatives by community organizations. Stephen Street 500, maybe the art gallery will do an art workshop. So, we want to see what the community's appetite is and what the ideas are that come into a space that is a public space available for free."
Contact the City of Morden to learn more or book the space online.