KUAM tours the new Dededo Farmer's Co-Op
It's been years in the making and in a few months, island farmers will have a place to call their own as the new Farmers Co-Op facility will finally be completed bringing with them a new location for the Dededo Flea Market.
"Right now, you'll see a lot of the farmers you see them on the side of the road, for example, Ernie Wusstig. You see him promoting his product," said Stacia San Nicolas. But that may all change as island farmers will now have a new home, with the near completion of the new facility in Dededo. San Nicolas, the Farmers Co-Op general manager, added, "But with this now, everybody will be able to come to one location, and bring all their products here and the people can come here to shop. So it's one location for all the farmers."
A groundbreaking ceremony was held nearly a year ago on the 6.9-acre property located at the intersection of Marine Corps Drive and Santa Monica Avenue. While the facility itself is 10,000 square feet, the total project cost came out to around $3.9 million. "We're going to have a kitchen here as well for people come and learn how to make more of the produce they have, we'll have office space, we'll have the open market for the vendors," she explained.
The Farmers Co-Op is part of the Guam Economic Development Authority's HOT Bond projects. GEDA real property assistant manager Diego Mendiola along with Architects Laguana gave the Farmers Co-Op their first tour of their new home. "I'm extremely excited because I also farm, my family does," Mendiola said. "So lately I have to drive around the island to deliver and sell produce, but now I'll just have one place to go and everything will be done, so I'm extremely excited."
He adds delays in construction were due to the weather. Meanwhile, the Farmers Co-Op facility will also accommodate the relocation of the Dededo Flea Market - a move Dededo mayor Melissa Savares says is a long time coming. "Of course I'm excited, it's something we've worked for a long time for many years to find a home for a new facility which is going to be safer, away from a curved intersection, heavy traffic area," he said. "It's in between housing areas, so people can come and not only get fresh produce over the weekend and have that physical activity and walking over because it's closer to a lot of homes."
Savares says fees will remain the same. The new facility will provide 180 vendor stalls measured at 16-x-16 along with more parking even for ten tour busses. Like the Farmers Co-Op, vendors will soon be given a tour of the site, as well.
The entire project for the Farmers Cooperative Association of Guam Facility and the Dededo Flea Market is expected to be completed in October and open 60 to 90 days thereafter.