Town leaders look for way to continue Ferrisburgh Day

FERRISBURGH — At the suggestion of Ferrisburgh Historical Society member Gail Blasius, the Ferrisburgh selectboard on May 6 voted to take over sponsorship and organization of the town’s annual Ferrisburgh Day celebration.
Blasius told the board the day, modeled after the town’s former “Good Neighbor Days” from the 1950s through 1970s, did not really fit into the society’s mission and also stretched its organizational ability.
But, she said, society members did not want to see the idea fall by the wayside because it offered residents a way “to reconnect with each other,” and hoped the town could step up.
“If we don’t have something that is institutional, part of our culture, it dies,” Blasius said.
Selectboard members and residents at the Tuesday meeting said they backed the idea, and a return of its name to Good Neighbor Day.
Selectman Jim Warden said he has seen similar concepts thrive in Charlotte and Shelburne.
“I really support this,” Warden said. “It does get people talking to each other, to know each other.”
Most at the meeting agreed a central site, such as the adjacent Ferrisburgh Central School and town office sites, would be preferable to a suggestion made by Blasius, that a state park be asked to host the event for free in its offseason.
In the past four years, Ferrisburgh Days have offered several sites, while the Lake Champlain Maritime and Rokeby museums have offered free admissions to town residents, a feature that those in the room at the May 6 meeting would like to see retained.
“It needs to be a central location to be successful” said resident Bob McNary. “Food is a driver.”
The selectboard heard suggestions on who should organize the event, including town employees, Ferrisburgh’s recreation committee, or a member appointed from each town panel.
But rather than pin down that responsibility, board members instead unanimously agreed the town should sponsor an annual Good Neighbor Day and to work out the details at future meetings.
Among other business on May 6, the Ferrisburgh selectboard:
•  Listened to a presentation from two Vermont Gas Systems representatives about an extension of the Addison County pipeline project that will cross some of Ferrisburgh in the Plank Road area (see story in A section).
•  Heard an update from Selectman Steve Gutowski on a draft traffic ordinance. The proposal attempts to address parking problems on a town-wide basis, including for special events that use town roads, such as bicycle and running races; a winter parking ban; issues near town properties such as its fishing access and beach; and even household events such as yard and garage sales. The board will continue work on the law at future meetings.
•  Heard from Warden that a new traffic test on Old Hollow Road will be conducted before a recommendation for a speed limit change will be made.
•  Heard from Treasurer Garrit Smits on a new proposed policy on how much cash the town should have on hand in its general fund.
Andy Kirkaldy may be reached at [email protected].

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