One of the state budget items to be discussed this week by the House/Senate conference committee is the proposed purchase of additional land at the current site of the state farmers market in Lexington.
The House put $1 (one dollar) in the budget for the purchase while the Senate was much more generous with $13 million. Quite a large range to discuss and there are many reasons why.
When the state moved the farmers market two years ago, sites in Lexington and Richland counties were considered. Sources in the General Assembly say the Richland site was preferred for a long time until a late drive with petitions and the like secured the market in Lexington.
What wasn’t known at the time, according to legislators we talked to, was that the Lexington site has considerable environmental issues. It was a toxic chemical waste dump for many years and there are EPA warning signs on the property to this day.