Ferrell Davis, secretary and treasurer of the Killeen Area Growers Association, looks over his onion plants in his garden on Wednesday. Davis plans to sell his produce at the Green Avenue Farmers Market when it opens March 31 in downtown Killeen. He expects a larger crowd at the new location.
Nick Hernandez III paints lines for parking spots Wednesday at the Green Avenue Farmers Market near Second Street in downtown Killeen.
Brent Crisp, superintendent of Alpha Constructors, right, reconfigures the measurements of newly painted parking spaces with several subcontractors Wednesday at the Green Avenue Farmers Market in downtown Killeen. The market is part of the city’s downtown revitalization plan for the area surrounding the former First Baptist Church campus.

By Rose L. Thayer
Killeen Daily Herald

Green Avenue Farmers Market is a few finishing touches away from being ready for its March 31 grand opening.

The market’s permanent location is a first for Killeen, and was “designed with farmers and customers in mind,” said Jill Hall, senior planner and heritage preservation officer for the city.

In the past, the Killeen Area Growers Association set up shop at the corner of Park Avenue and Avenue G, with just trees for coverage and no signs.

Now the city has a new pavilion with restrooms, designated room for refrigeration equipment and plenty of parking.

“The biggest advantage is that where it is now, more people will come,” said Ferrell Davis, secretary and treasurer of the growers association. “It’s right off Rancier (Avenue), so you can’t miss it.”

The market is part of a larger downtown revitalization project that began in 2006 with the purchase of the former First Baptist Church campus.

There are eight buildings in the campus, now occupied by a variety of civic and social services, such as the Richard Milburn Academy, the Killeen Civic Art Guild and Bell County Human Services, said Leslie Hinkle, Killeen’s director of community development. Civic space is scattered throughout.

The market and surrounding greenspace, at the corner of Green Avenue and Second Street, used to be a vacant lot.

“I think folks that visit will see what a wonderful facility this turned out to be and the number of people accessing it on a day-to-day basis,” said Hinkle. “It’s really an extension of the (Killeen) Civic and Conference Center.”

Funding for the farmers market came from the city, a federal community development block grant distributed through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and a $24,600 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s farmers market program.

“I’m just so proud that the city of Killeen did the project,” said Hinkle. “It was needed in our community.”

Until the market opens, Davis said he will keep tending to his chemical-free garden, preparing to sell beets, onions, celery and tomatoes alongside his fellow growers.

He said he is optimistic the new location will benefit growers.

“The convenience is the most important thing,” he said. “People will want to come when we are there.”

If you go

Green Avenue Farmers Market is seeking farm, ranch and hand-crafted artisan vendors. Pick up an application at the Killeen Planning and Development Services Department at 200 E. Avenue D (second floor) or email jhall@killeentexas.gov.

The market debuts March 31 and will be open from 3 to 6 p.m. Tuesdays and Fridays and from 3:30 to 5 p.m. Saturdays.

WIC coupons are accepted by certified vendors.