Karen Hennessy speaks with members of the Essex County Board of Supervisors.
Plans for the upcoming Lake Champlain Bridge celebration were unveiled to members of the Essex County Board of Supervisors March 12.
Members of the Economic Development, Planning and Publicity Committee heard from Karen Hennessy of the Lake Champlain Bridge Committee on the upcoming bridge celebration, scheduled for May 19-20.
Hennessy said the celebration will not only promote the bridge, but it will promote the region as a tourist destination.
"We want to showcase the corridor with the new bridge as the centerpiece,” Hennessy said. “We will be promoting what our area has to offer. We want folks to come here and say wow, what a great place to be. This will truly be a local-sponsored event.”
Hennessy said that the panning for the event is coming along, as well as funding for the events.
“It’s getting really exciting, and we are going full steam ahead,” Hennessy said. “We are even starting to get some state funds from both sides of the lake released to us to help offset the costs.”
Hennessy said that some of the funding could pay for expenses incurred by Essex County, including security.
“Vermont came up with a good number to help cover the costs of security,” Hennessy said. “We are going to get some funding through the state DOT to cover the cost.”
North Elba Supervisor Roby Politi asked why the celebration was being held almost six months after the bridge was opened.
“Last year, when the bridge was to open, we were told a specific date which was then drawn back,” Hennessy said. “When we talked to the DOT, they just wanted to open the bridge with no celebration. They washed their hands of the situation and handed it over to us. We could not do the celebration when the opening was pushed back, and we still wanted to have the party, so we are doing it in May.”
Hennessy also disputed claims that the committee was not getting support from the Vermont Department of Transportation for the parade, which is scheduled for the first day of the event.
“Vermont DOT is completely behind us despite some of the rumors,” Hennessy said. “They have been remarkably behind us in the planning.”
For more information on the bridge celebration, visit the website www.champlainbridgecommunity.org. People can also access the committee’s Facebook page from the site.