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February 28, 2011   Email to Friend 

Darryal Ray
(334) 613-4187
February 28, 2011

MONTGOMERY, Ala. -- One day before they were set to close due to budget restraints, two State Farmers Markets received a reprieve Monday.

John McMillan, commissioner of the Alabama Department of Agriculture & Industries, had announced last week that the Montgomery markets at the Garrett Coliseum and Fairview would close March 1 due to budget cuts.

But late Monday afternoon, McMillan announced that the facilities would remain open at least another week to give interested parties time to work out details.

"Since last week's announcement... several individuals and organizations have come forward to offer ideas that may allow the markets to remain open," McMillan said in a statement. "We are grateful for the community support for these markets and interest in allowing them to operate."

According to McMillan's statement, the City of Montgomery has offered to lease a small portion of the Fairview market for a police presence and allow the market to continue operating in the majority of the space. The lease payments, combined with other cost-saving measures, would enable ADAI to operate the markets without having to rely on taxpayer funding.

"Officials with our Department are also in discussion with business interests and current tenants at the Coliseum Market who have offered to lease that facility," the statement continued. "Their lease payments, along with reassignment of department staff and other cost-saving measures, will allow that market to operate without a drain on taxpayer dollars.

"We will continue to explore all of our options regarding both markets. As the department is carrying this out, we have decided it is in the best interest of all concerned to allow both markets to remain open for a minimum of a seven-day period while we hold these discussions."

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