Board of Trade studies parking proposals
The Edgartown Board of Trade is working on a parking incentive program for local merchants as well as planning four major events for the rest of the year.
The parking plan is intended to encourage Edgartown business owners and their employees to park at the park and ride lot at the Edgartown Triangle and take the shuttle bus to work, John Cordie of the Bank of Martha's Vineyard, who is heading up the plan, reported to the board at its monthly meeting Monday.
The incentives for parking at the lot include prizes that will be awarded to an employee whose name is drawn each week from their bus receipts, he said. Several businesses have donated prizes, which include meals at Island restaurants and other items.
The winners' names will be published in the local newspapers every week to get more exposure for the program, Mr. Cordie said. The program will start Monday and continue through the Sunday after Labor Day.
The town public works department will pave the lot and add new lighting and landscaping in the fall, the board learned.
Christina Cook of Christina Gallery, the board secretary, said the board also will present a petition to the selectmen Monday seeking to change the street parking limit to two hours. "We hope this will go through this summer," she said.
Maggie White, board co-president from the Hob Nob Inn, reported that the board's first Sea, Farm and Vine Festival on Oct. 12 to 14 will be renamed Martha's Vineyard Annual Harvest: A Celebration of Sea, Farm and Vine. The name change came at the suggestion of Plum TV, which will promote the festival through television coverage and advertising in its eight resort markets. The station representatives believed Martha's Vineyard should be in the title, Ms. White said.
Ms. White said the festival will be promoted as a "green event" to emphasize the environmental aspects of the Vineyard, with the use of recycled paper goods and plastics, and companies and products that represent sustainability. The event will feature local harvests from the sea and Island farms, wines from around the world and chefs.
It will be held at various locations in downtown Edgartown, including the Martha's Vineyard Museum, the Harbor View Hotel and other restaurants, with the kick-off at the Hob Nob Inn. A web site for information and tickets to the event will be open next week at www.seafarmvine.org
"It has the potential to be an exciting event," Ms. White said.
The board of trade also has taken over sponsorship of the July 4th fireworks in Edgartown. Atlas Pyrovision has been hired to produce the fireworks at a cost of $45,000, and it promises to be a bigger show than in the past, Ms. White said. The board is raising funds for the event, and has asked local merchants to sell a fireworks T-shirt with an Edgartown lighthouse logo designed by local artist Dana Gaines.
Board treasurer Janice Donaroma of Donaroma's Nursery distributed fliers for the board's third annual sand sculpture contest at South Beach on July 31 and Aug. 1. The event will feature Lucinda Wierenga and Kirk Rademaker, who have been seen on "Sand Blasters" on the Travel Channel. They will build a professional sand sculpture.
The fourth event the board sponsors is the annual Christmas in Edgartown.
Ms. White asked the rest of the merchants for their opinions on whether the board's extensive efforts to promote special events are worthwhile. Several people said they believed the events were achieving the board's purpose of drawing more people to the town's businesses. The goal of the sea, farm and vine festival is to bring 2,000 people to Edgartown, Ms. White said.
One merchant said she believed new flower baskets and awnings are a positive addition to Main Street. Other merchants said business has been good recently.
Norman Rankow of Colonial Reproductions encouraged the businesspeople to contribute for the flower arrangements. "It's up to us to make this better. We survive together," he said.
"The downtown has some exciting things happening," Ms. White added, noting the renovations and additions to the Harbor View Hotel and the Navigator restaurant, and other new businesses.
Ms. Cook said the board's membership is similar to last year's, with about 150 members. She also presented a new street map and guide to 2007 events in Edgartown that the board produced.