Selectmen will look for parking solution April 19
It’s no secret that concerts, free movies, and other summertime activities in Ridgefield parks have been causing discontent among retailers.
The subject — in particular, limited parking availability at village restaurants during summer concerts in Ballard Park — caused a bit of a rift at the Board of Selectmen meeting Wednesday, April 5, before the selectmen agreed to put it on the agenda for their April 19 meeting in the hope they could find a solution that would make everyone happy.
“I think we should talk to Paul [Paul Roche, director of Parks and Recreation] and explain that the concerts are making it difficult for parking in town,” said Selectwoman Maureen Kozlark.
“We’ve become victims of our own success,” she added.
Moving the venue?
Selectwoman Barbara Manners, who also organizes the CHIRP concerts every summer, doesn’t think that moving the entertainment to a different venue — like the rec center on Danbury Road — is the solution.
She said that last year CHIRP reserved a number of spaces specifically for retail use.
“By the end of the year, it was working OK,” she said.
But that also comes with its own set of problems.
“Who’s going to pay to enforce that?” asked Selectman Bob Hebert.
First Selectman Rudy Marconi said the Chamber of Commerce had already pulled all its free events in the park.
“They don’t charge anything and now they possibly have to pay security guards,” Marconi told the board, “so they said, ‘We can’t do something for free and then incur these expenses.’”
But he said paying for parking enforcement is important to assist the people who are running their businesses.
He had a meeting with Lisa Quattrocchi, owner of the CVS shopping plaza, last week.
He told The Press on Tuesday, April 11, that Quattrocchi had received several complaints from her tenants.
“As a result, she needed the meeting to let us know she supported community events and loves the fact that they take place,” he said, “but that she also has to represent her tenants who pay her rent and then she pays taxes.”
Marconi believes there’s a solution that will benefit all stakeholders.
“What we need to do is to collaborate and come up with a parking lot system,” he said.
“It’s doable, but for some reason that’s been very difficult to achieve.”
Marconi has invited Roche and Christopher Fusaro, chairman of the Parking Authority, to the April 19 meeting.
“I’ve asked them to attend to have a discussion specifically about CHIRP and also some other events,” he said.