A pavilion is at the heart of Columbia's new agriculture park

The Columbia agriculture park sits uncompleted at Clary-Shy Community Park in May. Rain has delayed the projected opening, which is now scheduled for later this summer.

Columbia’s long-awaited Agriculture Park will hold its first Saturday market July 6 as part of its grand opening.

The market will be open that day from 8 a.m. to noon under the new MU Health Care Pavilion in Clary-Shy Community Park.

Columbia Farmers Market executive director Corrina Smith said the covered facility will serve as the new location for the market, allowing customers and vendors to buy and sell local goods in a more comfortable setting.

“When we have some type of precipitation and bad weather, we lose at least half of our customer base, and those products that the vendors brought to market just go to waste, unfortunately,” Smith said.

The Saturday market will remain in its temporary location at Parkade Center through June 29.

The covered space is just one of many ongoing projects planned for the Agriculture Park, including an interactive urban farm, outdoor recreational trail and event center, according to the park's Facebook page.

Adam Saunders, development director for the Columbia Center for Urban Agriculture, said the opening has been “a long time coming.”

“I’m excited for people to see the progress that’s been made to date and what is to come over the rest of this year and the years to come with the later phases,” he said.

In addition to the grand opening, the park will hold its official dedication ceremony at 9 a.m. July 13 at Clary-Shy Community Park.

Saunders said guest speakers will talk about the process and thank the approximately 600 donors who made the project possible.

“It’s going to be a nice ceremony,” he said.

The Agriculture Park Project is a collaboration between the CCUA, Columbia Parks and Recreation, Columbia Farmers Market and Sustainable Farms and Communities, according to the park's website.

Supervising editor is Tom Coulter.

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