The Oasis Room at the Garde Theatre was standing room only last night, when over 100 state, municipal and heritage site representatives attended an informational presentation on the benefits of tying the various attractions in the Park together with a common theme, signage and programming. Alan Plattus, director of the Yale Urban Design Workshop, gave an overview of the master plan for the park and stressed the need for all involved agencies and municipalities to work together, share information, and look to other successful models of “trail” tourism throughout the country, and outside the US, for ideas on how to best promote the new Heritage Park.
Also announced at the meeting was the winner of the contract to operate the water taxi, which will begin taking passengers on Memorial Day. Jacklyn and David Dietrick from Voluntown will be operating as Thames River Water Taxi. The couple brings a wealth of experience to the Thames River Heritage Park Foundation, with piloting, mechanical and marketing expertise. They’ll be hiring crew members this summer as well. Groton City Mayor Marion Galbraith introduced them and added that the search committee was “really thrilled with their proposal.”
Transition Team Chair Chris Cox reminded the group that this was only the first of many such forums; future meetings with individual sites, arts and cultural organizations, and local businesses will follow throughout the coming months. It’s the goal of the Transition Team to have the Heritage Park be a collaborative effort with input and participation from all organizations and groups within the borderless park to help promote and encourage tourism, commerce, and preservation of the natural and historic resource that is the Thames River area.