Today is Thursday, June 4, 2020 – The Water Taxi is not running.  

Thames River

Over 100 attend TRHP informational forum

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.”

Alan Plattus addresses the crowdAlan Plattus addressing the audience

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.

Transition Team discusses finances, incorporation, and its upcoming conference

The Transition Team as a whole met Wednesday, January 27th, in the conference room at the always-picturesque Fort Trumbull State Park, and were joined by guests Judy Benson reporting for the Day and Jeff Harris from the Port Authority of New London. Jeff wanted us to understand his role and hear that the Port Authority and the New London Maritime Festival were highly enthusiastic about the Thames River Heritage Park. He urged the team to continue furthering relations with the Port Authority dock master in order to make sure that the future water taxi initiative ran smoothly and in coordination with all other waterfront events and activities.

The Finance Committee gave a brief report on current funding, and reported that the Transition Team has a cash balance of $33,497.40. The water taxi marine survey is currently being conducted. The Finance Committee will have a budget and fundraising plan by February.

We’ve spent about $12,000 of our original funds and are planning to send an invoice to the state for reimbursement. As you may recall from previous posts, the State has approved $100,000 per year for two years to offset the costs of boat operation.

Proposals for water taxi operations are due mid-February and we expect to receive several proposals from very well-qualified companies, both in Connecticut and out of state.

The Team also discussed different office space options as presented by the subcommittee in charge of this issue.

The Team reviewed the draft Certificate of Incorporation, and voted to file it as soon as possible, pending some small changes to wording. At next month’s meeting the Bylaws will be reviewed and hopefully approved, so they can be submitted as well.

Chair Chris Cox and Penny Parsekian discussed the upcoming “Benefits and Opportunities” conference that TRHP is sponsoring at the Garde Theatre’s Oasis Room on March 31st. We’ll be posting more about it here and on Facebook, and invitations will be sent out to all representatives and Boards of parks, host communities and state agencies involved in the Park. Guest speakers will include Alan Plattus, lead for the Yale Design Workshop’s Park Plan. Mr Plattus will review the plan and explain to all attendees how we hope that collaboration between all parties will benefit the region from a tourism, education and economic standpoint. The event will also be videotaped by Atlantic Broadband. Please watch here for more details as the date draws near.

Thames Heritage Park Birdseye-sm - new