New Project: Athens Farmers Market at Doug Gates Park

By: Blake Williams

ATHENS, Ala. – Athens Main Street announced today [Feb. 1, 2023] plans to embark on a project to revitalize Limestone County’s farmers market located at 409 W. Green Street in downtown Athens.

The historic site is central to downtown Athens in a diverse socioeconomic area and plays a major role in supporting local producers, ranchers, prepared food vendors, and artisans.  This project will improve the overall attractiveness of the site with a freshly painted pavilion, new roof, and improved landscaping with additional trees and indigenous plants. Plans also include cleanup of an overgrown drainage basin in the middle of the site.

Plans are to include local art, colorful sunshades, and refreshed painted surfaces to the site which will add vibrancy. New multi-use areas will provide several varied usages for youth educational areas and community special events.

Recently, the Limestone County Commission added handicap accessible restrooms, new vendors tables, large fans, and upgraded the electrical in the market pavilion. The farmers market site is the property of the Limestone County Commission.  In 2022, the commission approved additional funds to Athens Main Street to assume additional responsibilities for the weekly market and the Saturday Market.

“We appreciate the confidence the Limestone County Commission has shown our organization by supporting us in this renovation effort,” Athens Main Street Executive Director Tere Richardson said. “The time has come to improve and revitalize the pavilion and grounds.”

According to Richardson, the pavilion has served producers and patrons for more than 40 years.

“With the important infrastructure improvements done by the Limestone County Commission and the partnership to assist with in-kind improvements, this project will be able to address both the aesthetics of the pavilion grounds while creating an inviting vibrant multi-use site,” Richardson said.

Another major component of the renovation is the entertainment pavilion. This addition increases the capacity of the farmers market and addresses the waiting list for vendors. Additionally, these improvements will attract other organizations to utilize the site for a wide range of community events.


Athens Main Street has raised more than $70,000 of the estimated $130,000 needed to complete the project, with $12,000 from donations in memory of Doug Gates, a driving force on the Athens Main Street Board, a lifelong community servant, and fierce proponent of downtown.

With the approval of the Limestone County Commission, the park will be named the Athens Farmers Market at Doug Gates Park.  According to Richardson, this park highlights Gates’ passion for downtown: restoring historic properties, fostering of small businesses, improving parks and trails, and supporting Athens Main Street’s mission.

Limestone County Commission is thrilled to support this renovation project.

“As Athens Main Street continues to foster a center of activity for the community at the farmers market, the major renovation will be beneficial to all involved,” Limestone County Commission Chairman Collin Daly said. “I look forward to seeing the market continue to grow and flourish while supporting local farmers and producers.”

Daly says the Limestone County Commission is fully supportive of this renovation.


The construction is a phased implementation with the refresh of the existing pavilion completed by May for the opening of 2023 market season. Much of the landscaping and artwork will be ongoing. The Cast Products Entertainment Pavilion is slated to open in May 2024 with the remaining construction completed by December 2024.

“This project will be implemented in much the same way we successfully implemented the Merchants Alley project, through teamwork and detailed planning,” Athens Main Street Board President Shane Black said. “A team of dedicated volunteers will plan, fundraise, and implement the design.”

Black says this group believes in the mission of revitalization and historic preservation and have donated their time and expertise.

By: Blake Williams