At previous meetings, selectboard members suggested a “vendor policy” after residents asked whether vendors could sell items during events in the park, and if musicians performing in the town-sponsored concert series could sell their CDs during performances.
On Tuesday evening, economic development director Ken Black offered a draft policy that would allow vendors, with the approval of the selectboard, to set up a booth or table in the northeast corner of the park. But after discussing the matter further, board members rejected the concept.
Selectboard chair Randy Terk wondered about charging vendors a fee. “Even if there is no fee, do we want to have a formal permit process so that, if vendors don’t adhere to the rules, we have some teeth? Do we want to charge a deposit?”
Black said the requirement of a permit would allow the board to control the number of vendors and the goods that could be sold in the park. “We don’t want inappropriate vendors coming to the park.”
But board member Vicki Capitani said she didn’t like the whole concept of commercial use of the park. “It’s one thing for a band to have some CDs in front of the bandstand,” she said, “but this is an open public space. It’s a place for families to come. I don’t like the concept of making it an open market.”
Board member Linda Holland added that she was concerned about damage to the grounds from the temporary installation of booths and tents.
Capitani said that by offering vendor space in the park, the town could be handing some vendors an unfair advantage over regular restaurants and retailers near the park. “A musician selling a CD, that’s a unique thing that people can’t buy anywhere else – that’s not taking anything away from 7-Eleven.”
But Black argued the opposite, noting that at one of the concerts, a nearby pizza shop was delivering to people in the park. “It gives an unfair advantage to folks like 7-Eleven or the pizza place across the way,” he said. “There’s a case where they’re already acting as a vendor.”
“Well, it’s buyer beware,” said Capitani. “We bought, and they were already there.”
“So it’s OK if any pizza place says ‘Call us, and we’ll deliver to the park?’” asked Black.
“Sure,” said Terk. “Someone can bring a picnic or they can order something.”
“But you can’t put up a sign in the park saying you deliver,” added Capitani.
The board voted unanimously to reject the vendor plan.
In other Dover Park policy matters, board members approved guidelines for accepting donations for park equipment or landscaping. Board members requested the guidelines from Black after he relayed a request from a resident to donate a bench in memory of a loved one.
Under the guidelines, donors could pay $1,000 for a bench with a small brass memorial plaque, or $400 for a tree. The actual purchase would be handled by the town, and the benches and trees would be the same type that are already placed in the park. The donated items would be placed according to a designated plan. When the park has reached the planned capacity, additional benches and landscaping could be placed along the Valley Trail. Benches and trees could also be donated by businesses. The selectboard will have final approval of all donations and the wording on donation plaques.
“What’s our strategy if a plaque is vandalized or removed?” asked Capitani. “Is it the town’s responsibility in perpetuity?”
“I would think so,” said Terk.
“It’s insured,” said board member Tom Baltrus.
Black also updated the board on efforts to install Internet service at the town hall in anticipation of uploading results for the primary on Tuesday, August 26, to the Vermont Secretary of State’s office. Black said that, to his surprise, there was already a working wireless Internet setup at the town hall. “FairPoint installed it for a branding meeting with Arnett and Muldrow over a month and a half ago, and it’s still operational.”
But Black said he wasn’t sure that the setup was permanent. He contacted Internet provider Cliff Duncan who offered a quote of $857.99 to install service at the town hall, and $40 per month for his high speed service. “After the primary I’ll call FairPoint and find out what’s going on, and get a cost from them. Then we can decide where to go.”
Black also announced that the town has been approved for a $324,000 transportation enhancement grant for the “A-” section of the valley trail, which will run south of the town office building and includes a bridge crossing. The town was also approved for a $33,000 grant for scoping of the “B+” section of the valley trail. Each of the grants requires a 10% local match. Black suggested “carving” the money out of economic development funds and setting it aside.