Use, protection of Green at issue in Guilford

By Rachael Scarborough King, Register Staff
Feb. 1, 2008

GUILFORD — The town can protect the historic Green and still allow some large-scale events there, a committee that has been reviewing use of the Green told the Board of Selectmen Thursday night.

The selectmen held a workshop Thursday to review the ad hoc committee’s recommendations. Members of the permanent Guilford Green Committee also attended, and some disputed the claims of the ad hoc committee members.

The ad hoc committee presented selectmen with its draft recommendations in October. They include requiring a site administrator and security deposit for all events, and reducing the number of cars and trucks allowed on the Green.

Selectman Sal Catardi said at the meeting that the town already has rules addressing some of the items, although the rules are sometimes not enforced.

In 2006, the selectmen adopted rules that could shut out some longtime events, such as the Craft Expo and Shakespeare on the Shoreline. Concerns about the changes led to the creation of the ad hoc committee. It is not recommending any rules be eliminated or changed, but some events would need to apply for exemptions to certain rules.

Many residents consider the Green the center of civic and cultural life in the town. Green Committee member Lucy Farrar said she thinks the number of booths and length of events should be limited.

“Guilford is known for its Green, for the picture of the Green with the grass and the trees and the churches around,” Farrar said. “The picture that you see is not a Green that is covered with activity.”

Several ad hoc committee members said that the annual events bring many people to the town who contribute to local businesses, although the amount of traffic may disrupt some businesses.

Guilford Art Center Director Jean Perkins said that she does not think the Craft Expo will take place if it is forced to move to the Fairgrounds, a less picturesque location. The current rules require tents to be set up and taken down within two days. The Art Center will apply for special permission to not follow some of the rules.

Balestracci said he thinks the number of events should be somewhat reduced. He added that the board will probably hold a special meeting to discuss the rules.

“More and more people want to come to Guilford Green and have events, and we just can’t,” he said. “One event a weekend is more than enough for the summer.”

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