For nearly a year now, vendors and customers alike have had to deal with having zero covering and very little electricity at the Steam Pump Ranch farmers market after the old ramada was destroyed last summer.

But now, thats all about to change following the April 17 council meeting that saw the council approve the purchase of a $579,000 steel structure.

It’s something 15-year farmers market vendor Elizabeth Robb couldnt be more excited about. “That is so heartening. Because like I said, summer is coming, its almost here, and the fact that theres an end where were actually going to have a cover and the shade and the misters and all the other stuff and electricity for the vendors that need it fabulous, wonderful, cannot wait.”

The news comes nine months after one of the three wooden structures was destroyed by a motorist in July 2023.

The absence of any type of shade during one of the hottest times of the year caused a dip in business for many of the vendors, says Nick Szumowski, the executive director for the Heirloom Farmers Market.

“Without the shade or limited [electricity], and so we struggled through,” he said. “Some customers would drive by and not see the tents in the regular spot and thought the market wasnt open.”

Now, the town of Oro Valley is preparing to spend more than half a million dollars to install the much larger steel structure standing at 26-by-180 feet a definite upgrade from the previous structures that were only 12-by-50 feet, says Deputy Director for Parks and Recreation Matt Jankowski.

“It’s really going to assist their Saturday morning market that takes place out there and provide a much wider shaded area for the patrons who come out and frequent the market.”

Additionally, the new structure will require less maintenance and is expected to last for a few decades.

It is still early on in the process, so Jankowski says theres no concrete estimate on when that new structure might arrive.