By Kevin Kelley
At its April 4 meeting, Westlake City Council unanimously passed the development plan for a long-planned civic area at Crocker Park. The area will become the permanent home of the North Union Farmers Market at Crocker Park.
The civic space will consist of two connected areas – a one-acre grass-covered space bordered by trees to be known as Crocker Commons, and another one-acre area with a hard surface and covered stage for events to be known as Market Square.
A citizens committee held meetings beginning in 2007 to decide on aspects of the civic space. The intent has always been the Crocker Park would donate the land and the city would pay to construct the site. According to Westlake’s Economic Planning Director Bob Parry, the costs are not yet known but are expected to be around $2 million. Construction of the civic space is expected to be part of Phase III of Crocker Park, which includes the construction of American Greetings’ new corporate headquarters.
Market Square is designed to host a variety of events in addition to the farmers market, for which it can accommodate 88 vendor stands. A banquet in a tent at Market Square could seat 980 individuals. The area would have space for 156 exhibitors at an art show. Arranged for a concert, Market Square could seat 1,340 people. A temporary ice rink, 120 by 80 feet in diameter, could also be place there.
Early discussions about the civic space included talk of an amphitheater, but that was ultimately deemed too expensive.
A covered pavilion with electricity and lighting has been planned as another feature of Market Square.