Press Release: Town of Independence Partners with the Timber Framers Guild
Mayor E.F. “Butch” Reeves, IV, and the Independence Town Council are pleased to announce that the Timber Framers Guild, of Cooperstown, New York, has agreed to build the new Independence Farmers’ Market structure, to be located at Independence Town Park at the intersection of U.S. Highways 21 and 58. The Guild will utilize volunteer labor to transform a vacant property at the heart of Town into the first public park in the Town’s 115 year history, which will include a permanent home for the Independence Farmer’s Market and a new Crooked Road Concert Stage named the Uncle Wade Old Time Stage. The project’s financing includes $175,000 of USDA-Rural Development funding and $150,000 from the Virginia Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission.
According to the Timber Framers Guild’s website (https://www.tfguild.org), “Since 1985, the Timber Framers Guild has raised nearly 100 timber frames for communities across North America and beyond”. The Independence Town Park project will be the Guild’s seventh project in Virginia, and their first in Southwestern Virginia. To date, it is their only project in the Blue Ridge Mountain Region between Roanoke and Asheville, North Carolina. This vast range, coupled with the expert craftmanship attributable to the Guild, will make the new Farmers’ Market a regional masterpiece for all the Town’s visitors to see.
“Fifty-five to sixty members of the Timber Framers Guild, an international non-profit dedicated to enriching communities through the craft of timber framing, will arrive in Independence this fall to build the frame for a farmers market pavilion”, said Allison Aurand, Guild Representative. “The Timber Framers Guild focuses on educational opportunities for those interested in timber framing, serving novice and experienced timber framers alike. Guild members work and learn together on community building projects across North America, gathering to fabricate unique structures ranging from community centers and memorials to park shelters and farmers market pavilions similar to the one being built in Independence. In all cases, these volunteers travel from near and far to work with local partners to build a beautiful and lasting structure that enhances the community and represents a legacy for its people. The Timber Framers Guild offers opportunities for its members to expand their skills as craftspeople and make new friends in great communities.”
The volunteers will spend two weeks living on site, eating meals provided by the Independence Farmers’ Market. “The Farmers’ Market is pleased to be part of the ‘Farmers feeding Framers’ effort,” said Michelle Pridgen, Manager of the Independence Farmers’ Market. “We look forward to feeding the 60 volunteer timber framers fresh, healthy food. The Independence Farmers’ Market is thrilled that the Town of Independence is ready to begin construction [at the new Town Park]. The addition of a permanent structure is a long-term goal of both the Market and Town. It will be a great asset to the entire community.”
The Independence Town Park has been a priority for Mayor Reeves, the Town Council, and the Independence Farmers’ Market since its planning first began in 2013. Mayor Reeves and the Town Council appreciate the Guild’s dedication and willingness to bring their artistic abilities to the Independence Town Park. The Guild’s volunteers will begin their work on Friday, October 1st, and are expected to finish their work by Sunday, October 10th. The project entire is expected to be completed by May 1st, 2022.
Reid Walters, Town Manager of Independence
Photo courtesy Timber Framers Guild