Just in time for Southington’s annual Apple Harvest Festival. Southington has reached a long-term agreement with First Congregational Church on use of a church-owned downtown parking lot that's been an important resource during the town’s biggest annual civic event.
Under a 10-year lease, the Town Council has agreed to maintain the parking area in exchange for its use. The town will maintain the pavement — which adjoins another lot owned by the town — and will do snow removal and other upkeep, according to the agreement. During the festival, the lot will have trash cans maintained by festival workers.
In addition, the festival’s promotional materials will include the church's food and craft vendors. No money will be exchanged as part of the deal.
This agreement in Southington looks like an amicable solution to a question that has previously been negotiated on a year-by-year basis, and an admirable example of the public and private sectors working together for the good of the community.
In various towns, public use of private parking areas doesn’t always turn out this well; it can sometimes lead to disputes and can cause patrons to wonder where they’re allowed to park.
Town Council Chairman Chris Palmieri spoke highly of First Congregational's contribution to the fall festival.
“They've been a great partner over the past 25 years,” Palmieri said. “This was a huge benefit for the town to have such a long-term lease,” he said. … “This gives us more certainty."
Everybody wins. Well done.