Springfield Selectboard plans events, IT update

Springfield, Vt.

SPRINGFIELD, Vt. – May 19 will be officially designated as “Belonging Day” in Springfield, Vt., per the approval of the selectboard at Monday night’s meeting. Town Manager Jeff Mobus read a proclamation presented to the board by the Springfield School District Board of Directors and Springfield on the Move (SOM). Commemorated by a community-wide inclusion event, “I Know I Belong In Springfield When…” the statement celebrates the Town of Springfield as “an inclusive community where everyone experiences the feeling of belonging.”

Elm Hill School second grade teacher Maresa Nielson addressed the board to report she and other teachers had been working with Jessica Martin from SOM to put together this event, which will take place at Comtu Cascade Park from 5-7 p.m.

Library Director Sue Dowdell commented, “This ties in with the summer reading program, ‘All Together Now,’ so I’m really in support of this event.” Dowdell mentioned that the library will be the back-up location in case of rain.

Char Osterlund was appointed to one of two vacancies on the Library Trustee Board, after submitting her application. “The library is one of the hubs of the community and I would love to be part of the picture,” Osterlund’s statement read. The appointment will extend through March 2024, at which time the position will be presented on the ballot for reelection.

Avant Dance Vermont received a permit for four brief, outdoor, seasonal dance performances, the first scheduled for June 17 at Comty Cascade Park. Mobus stated he had discussed the request with Police Chief Jeff Burnham and recommended the board approve. To be held in the Woodbury Courtyard, the performances will be free to the public, and have a tie-in with local businesses, to showcase Springfield’s downtown area.

The board considered a second event permit request from SOM, to hold a “Springfield Streetfest” on July 15 in downtown Springfield. Mobus stated their hope is that this will become an annual event, and asked the board to approve, pending further discussion between Mobus, Chief Burnham, and Martin, regarding alcohol being served at the event. Mobus thanked Martin for her work in developing a template to be used for applications requesting event permits and stated that part of their goal was to increase events in downtown.

The festival will include music, school group performances, art, and other installations from the students. Mobus stated that this year they are not applying to close down Main Street, but hope to change that in the future. The application was approved without alcohol for the time being.

A “Simpsons” tie-in event called the Zero K/Donut Dash is part of the festival. Participants will check in at the Woodbury Memorial Courtyard, where there will be Simpsons cut-outs on display, grab a donut, and walk to Comty Cascade Park to receive a t-shirt. The Simpsons Movie will be playing free of charge at the cinema. In 2007, Springfield, Vt. was chosen as the official Springfield of the Simpsons, after entering a video and competing against 14 other towns called Springfield.

The board also approved two running events to take place on the Toonerville Trail on June 8 and July 4.

Reporting on the effort to bring Springfield’s IT systems up to minimum supportable levels, a project ongoing for the past six months, Mobus shared that he had reviewed bids from several service providers, and CCI and Tech Group had emerged as the two most viable consultants. Each company had conducted half-day assessment tours of town buildings, and Mobus felt either one would be competent to manage the IT systems.

Safety and security was at the forefront of the ensuing discussion, as well as standardizing town email addresses, and performing “critical” upgrades to software and hardware, before the board awarded the three-year contract to Tech Group.

Additional items discussed at the meeting included road paving, approval of using money from the Public Works Equipment Fund to purchase dump trucks, and a request from Mobus for the board to revisit the Strategic Plan, adopted almost two years ago.

Chief Burnham presented a public safety update, reporting on several promotions within the department, and the dissolution of the Detective Division “for the time being.” He announced the anticipated graduation date for current police academy officers as May 28, and that new firearms for patrol had arrived. Burnham said that once the correct holsters arrive, training and qualifications will occur.

Dowdell added that Burnham will be at the town library on May 1, to address the community and answer questions.

The update on three unsafe properties to be demolished stated that two property owners have been notified, but the town has been unable to deliver the order to the third property owner. As a result, the town will have to print the order in their local paper of record, then wait 30 days before proceeding with any enforcement.

Chair Kristi Morris adjourned the meeting prior to an executive session.

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