By Conrad Dudderar
A farmer’s market, vendor market, food truck rallies, and concerts are just some possible uses envisioned for the old lumberyard in downtown Yukon.
The City of Yukon previously acquired property at 24 N 4th Street from Stan and Renee Lingo of 4812 Lingo Holding LLC, with an eye toward future development just north of Main Street.
The city council in December 2019 approved paying $420,000 for the site, which included seven tracts of land near the former Yukon lumberyard.
Initial plans were to demolish the existing building, but a recent presentation to the city council indicates making renovations may be another option.
“We wanted to introduce the idea of keeping the structure,” said Vicki Davis, director of Yukon’s Best Main Street.
Davis on March 2 spoke to council members to share ideas about what could be done with the lumberyard structure and adjacent property now owned by the City of Yukon.
“The indoor/outdoor aspect of the lumberyard really gives it a lot of flexibility,” Davis told the council.
Mayor Shelli Selby, a Yukon Main Street board member, was enthused about the possibilities after touring the site.
“It was just fascinating to envision what that would be for our community as an outdoor space,” Selby said. “We have to dream and think, ‘What can we do?’
“If we never dream, we never grow and never become better.”
In a Power-Point presentation, Davis described proposed renderings, designs and floor plans for “The Yard” event venue prepared by an Oklahoma Main Street architect.
“This was just to spur an image for you,” Yukon’s Main Street director told the council.
Several groups have offered suggestions about what the City of Yukon should do with the old lumberyard site – and Yukon Main Street’s concept is indeed unique.
But it’s too early to estimate renovation costs for The Yard, Davis emphasized.
“The council hasn’t even decided which way to go,” she said.
PLENTY OF POTENTIAL
Potential uses for the centrally located property – both the old lumberyard building and adjacent lot – are vast and only restricted by one’s imagination.
A weekly farmers market, arts and craft or antique markets, food truck rallies, and a small theater or comedy club could be offered at the venue.
“We’ve had so much response in our surveying about farmers markets, makers’ markets and those types of activities,” Davis shared. “A farmers market in itself is like a business ‘incubator’.
“We had 40 vendors at our last Czech Christmas Market during a time of COVID. Two of those vendors are just waiting for the opportunity to start a Czech bakery.”
The former lumberyard property could have a caterer’s kitchen, shared commercial kitchen “co-op” and an extra kitchen for festival use, even hosting cooking demonstrations and classes.
Other ideas are large concerts with food vendors, school group concerts, a small lunchtime concert series, and jam sessions with local musicians.
“There could be concerts of various sizes,” Davis envisioned. “Imagine just going down on a Friday afternoon for a lunchtime concert with music playing and food trucks. Wouldn’t that be great?”
Other possible uses for the site are a downtown park or greenspace, birthday and company parties and organizational fund-raisers. It could offer additional parking and public restrooms as well.
“If you’ve ever been downtown during events, the stores do not leave their facilities open – and for good reason,” Davis noted.
The Yukon 66 Main Street Association is focused on revitalizing the city’s historic downtown business district.
Members’ mission includes encouraging the connectivity and walkability of Main Street while capitalizing on Yukon’s rich cultural heritage to help make Yukon’s Route 66 a tourism destination.
“It’s a destination,” Mayor Selby reiterated. “That’s the word right now … why people should come to Yukon and spend their tax dollars here with us.”
Recurring Yukon Main Street projects are the Rock the Route musical festival, Cruise-In for a Cause for Yukon non-profit service groups, Czech Christmas Market, Walk the Route for the Alzheimer’s Association, and Creative Crosswalk network.