Dawn Francis, Town Manager
We hope you had a fun and relaxing Fourth of July! Did you know Colchester’s July 4th celebration takes six months of advance planning? With the road construction in the village, the Parks and Recreation Department working with the Fire, Rescue and Police Departments evaluated the alternative parade route on Blakely Road for safety, accessibility, and efficient traffic control. Extra hours were required for Parks and Recreation staff who directed the day’s events and for volunteer emergency responders who ensured everyone’s safety. Due to a rainy summer, Parks personnel have been working weekends to keep up with mowing, as well as setting up for the activities on the 4th.
Before the 4th of July events began, early-morning meetings for Parks staff, Police, Rescue, and Volunteer Fire Departments ensured we had operating procedures and evacuation routes in place in the event of an emergency during the festivities. We also contended with flooding and the unfortunate incident of a missing person, in addition to the usual emergency calls we receive over a holiday weekend.
Many of our staff and volunteers worked 16-plus hours on the holiday and didn’t get to spend time with their families. These folks seem to accept personal sacrifices as simply a part of their jobs or community service, but it’s another demonstration of their passion and dedication to the community. Please take a minute when you see a Colchester employee or volunteer emergency responder and thank them for what they do for you, day in and day out.
Some of you have offered suggestions to improve the parade or July 4th activities, especially the firework display location. Unfortunately, the fireworks can’t be relocated back to the beach due to regulations about isolation distances from nearby structures.
Due to our already constrained staff resources, we welcome more community members getting involved, more help with “boots on the ground,” and assistance making the day even more memorable. Contact our Parks and Recreation Department at 264-5640 or speak to our Recreation Advisory Committee if you have suggestions and are interested in helping to make this annual tradition even better.
For more about the Town Manager’s Office, visit http://colchestervt.gov/manager or call (802) 264-5509.