Proper planning makes big events easy on the town
The Tall Ships have come and gone. The weather was just about perfect and the sailing vessels were quite the spectacle. Jamestown has since returned to its normal summertime hustle and bustle.
Just about everyone agrees that the big event was a major success for the community. Many businesses reported a banner weekend. There were few problems to report.
We all remember the fireworks and Queen Mary II fiasco from a couple of years ago. The massive cruise ship had sailed into East Passage during her maiden summer. Newport was hosting fireworks that night. The combination of fireworks and the new cruise ship (at that time the largest in the world) became a giant people magnet. Without warning, Jamestown was deluged with thousands of visitors from around the state. There were strangers everywhere and we had gridlock until the wee hours of the next morning. The town of Jamestown was not ready for the crowds.
The recent Tall Ships weekend was a different story. Town officials spent many hours planning for the crowds. On Sunday - the day when the largest crowds were expected for the tall ships parade - the real test came. Other than some heavy traffic in the village prior to the parade, the event went off without a hitch. Traffic flowed smoothly and the crowds were well behaved.
It all started with the proper preparation. No parking signs were posted and there were designated parking areas. Extra police and National Guard personnel were on hand. Fire trucks were dispersed about the island on standby status.
Our hats are off the many people who made the event easy for Jamestowners. Hopefully, the town will receive some additional financial assistance from the state to offset the costs of hosting the Tall Ships crowds.
- Jeff McDonough