Meeting on farmers market funding set for Thursday

Published 8:39 pm Wednesday, January 26, 2022

A meeting between the Isle of Wight County Board of Supervisors and the Smithfield Town Council has been set for Jan. 27 to discuss the proposed farmers market improvements and funding.

The intergovernmental meeting will take place at 2 p.m. at the Smithfield Center.

Isle of Wight’s Board of Supervisors, on Jan. 20, unanimously voted to table a request from former Smithfield Foods Chairman Joseph W. Luter III that the county contribute $3 million toward his plans to redevelop the former Pierceville and Little’s Supermarket properties.

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Luter has offered to contribute $1 million toward the construction of a permanent home for the Smithfield Farmers Market, a currently seasonal effort by Smithfield’s and Isle of Wight’s shared tourism department — provided the town and county jointly raise another $6 million toward the project.

Luter purchased and razed the former Main Street grocery store and 1730s-era farmhouse at 502 Grace St. in 2020, proposing to transform the 50-plus acres into a mixed-use development. Plans call for a 13,300-square-foot indoor/outdoor farmers market building with underground parking that would front along Main Street.

The development, which Luter proposes to name “The Grange at 10Main” for its location at the intersection of Main Street and Route 10, would also include a hotel, 225 apartments, 45 single-family homes and duplexes, and 33,350 square feet of commercial space.

The $100 million development is projected to bring more than $933,000 in annual tax revenue to the town and an additional $1.1 million in annual tax revenue to the county.

Smithfield’s Town Council had voted in January to begin negotiations with the county on a plan for funding the proposed farmers market building — though an official application from Luter for rezoning or permits for his proposed development has yet to be made to the town’s Planning Commission or Town Council.