The driving force behind the popular Reynoldsburg's Farmers Market at Huber Park is stepping down.
Nadine Morse, market manager, said this year's farmers market, which begins Thursday, June 5, and runs from 3 to 6 p.m. every Thursday through Aug. 28, will be coordinated by a new manager and the city's Parks and Recreation Department.
"I thoroughly enjoyed managing the market, so it was a hard decision to come to," she said.
Morse has directed the market, coordinating up to 20 vendors each year, for the past six years. The Reynoldsburg Farmers Market began in 2008.
"When I was hired as administrative assistant for the development department, managing the farmers market was part of the job," she said. "At that time, we did not have a development director and planning and zoning was outsourced. Now my responsibilities have increased, so it has gotten to be a bit of a challenge."
The city hired Dan Havener as development director last fall.
Morse said she would like to focus entirely on development and planning and zoning to "narrow my scope."
"I had to think long and hard about what I wanted to do and decided maybe it was time to hand the market to Parks and Recreation so they could hire someone who could dedicate a lot more time," Morse said.
She's not going anywhere, though.
"I will be on the selection committee for a new manager and will spend time helping with the transition," she said. "There is a lot to do this time of year and we will be starting to contact vendors.
"We have a lot of wonderful vendors and many loyal customers for the market," she said.
She said Mayor Brad McCloud came up with the idea for the farmers market when he first took office in 2008.
"He put me in touch with Sandy Long and a number of great volunteers," Morse said.
"I grew up in Reynoldsburg and when we looked at locations, we wanted to make sure we put the market in the heart of the city," she said. "Huber Park was perfect for what we needed -- easy in and out of the parking lot, lots of parking and plenty of trees for shade."
The outdoor market had its challenges, though, from torrential rainstorms to high winds.
"High winds and tents don't get along too well," Morse said. "I also may not miss being outside for hours on some of the hottest days of summer."
She said she will miss the people, though.
"The thing that I hadn't really thought through when we started was the impact a local market would have on people in the community," she said.
"I have seen people renew old friendships with friends they have not seen in years and neighbors greeting neighbors.
"It is a heartwarming experience and I was very happy to be a part of it," she said.
Heartland Bank was the seed sponsor for the market and continues as the presenting sponsor, Morse said.
Other sponsors include Cotner Funeral Home, Fisher's Gardens, Reynoldsburg Dental Center, Reynoldsburg Sunoco and French Run Family Dental.
Morse said she is happy to become a customer of the market instead of its manager.
"Just like anything else, there comes a time when you need an infusion of new blood," she said. "You raise your birds and have to push them out of the nest, so to speak."