Selectmen put Morris on economic commission

The founder of six magazines and a website based in Ridgefield, Geoffrey Morris was welcomed onto the Economic and Community Development Commission Feb. 21 by a 4-0 vote of the Board of Selectmen.

“I think we have a very good retail community,” Morris told the selectmen. “But we have some empty spots.”

Morris’s letter to the board said he was a senior editor at Reader’s Digest when he moved to town in 1998, started RIdgefield Magazine four years later, and has since grown his TownVibe Media to include five other magazines — covering Wilton, Litchfield, Fairfield, Berkshire, and Bedford — as well as the TownVibe website. With second floor offices on Main Street, the enterprise has 12 employees and some 50 contract workers, he said.

Morris’s résumé also lists a host of volunteer contributions during his 20 years here, including six years on the Chamber of Commerce board — one as chairman — and six years on the Ridgefield Boys & Girls Club board as “part of that group that raised $6 million to renovate the clubhouse and install a pool.”

He served on the marketing committee of the Ridgefield Playhouse, and is a founder of the 400-member Ridgefield Bicycle Sport Club.

Morris started TriRidgefield, which attracts 500 racers and 2,000 spectators and in its 12 years has donated more than $100,000 to local organizations, he said. He also launched Where the Pavement Ends, a six-year-old trail race that has donated $5,000 to the town Conservation Commission.

The selectmen sought his perspective on parking in town.

“Yes, there’s a parking problem,” he said.

But the difficulty isn’t so much a lack of parking spaces, he said, as village workers’ habit of taking up all the prime spots close to businesses that should be available for shoppers and patrons.

“There are outer areas, 300 yards from Main Street, that on a busy day are empty,” he said.

Selectman Bob Hebert moved that Morris be put on the Economic Development Commission.

“He’s a doer. He accomplishes a lot of things,” Hebert said.

The motion passed 4-0 after seconding by Selectwoman Maureen Kozlark.

“I have to thank you for all your generosity and all you do for the town,” she said.