Regret cancelling Pumpkins in the Park

To the editor:

Numerous New Milford residents have expressed their disappointment that Pumpkins in the Park will not take place this year at Harrybrooke Park.

We, the planning committee for Pumpkins in the Park, are also disappointed. Pumpkins in the Park is a wonderful event for our community, especially children.

Over four years ago, the Board of Managers for Harrybrooke Park sought help from the public for support because the park was in desperate need.

In response to the plea, a group later named "Friends of Harrybrooke Park" was formed.

Our committee came up with a fundraising idea called "Pumpkins in the Park" as a Halloween event to raise money.

We approached the Board of Managers and submitted our proposal requesting that funds raised by this event would be allocated to the reclamation of the pond at Harrybrooke.

The managers enthusiastically supported the idea, the response from the public was overwhelming, and we raised more than $6,000 for the pond reclamation in our first year.

Other fundraising events during 2010 and 2011 were also successful.

At this time, the Board of Managers decided all fundraising monies for the park would no longer be allocated to specific projects.

Each year, Pumpkins in the Park had increasing success and all profits were put into the "general fund" for Harrybrooke Park. In three years we raised almost $30,000.

This year, we approached the Board of Managers requesting funds raised from this year's "Pumpkins" be allocated to our original purpose -- the reclamation of the pond -- and an educational project.

The board denied our request.

Realizing there are other projects at the park that require funds, we suggested allocating only a small percentage of the profits to the pond.

The board again denied our request.

After several hours of discussion, the board refused any compromise. Realizing the board would not compromise, we inquired what it would cost to rent the park for the event, and donate the profits to the park, allocating some monies toward the pond.

We were told at the time the cost to rent the park was $10,000, which was beyond our means.

We did not, and still do not, understand why the Board of Managers would not commit to allocating a small portion of the funds raised this year toward the pond.

We left the meeting deeply disappointed for the residents who have made the event a yearly destination.

Prior to the first Pumpkins in the Park, we contacted local groups to make sure we would not intrude on any planned Halloween fundraisers.

Sadly, we understand a Halloween event at Harrybrooke to replace Pumpkins in the Park is already being planned by the managers, even after we informed them we planned to bring Pumpkins in the Park to a new nonprofit organization.

Due to the many inquiries, we feel the residents deserve an explanation.

We thank you for your past support, and we will make every effort to make Pumpkins in the Park return next year in all its ghoulish glory.

We offer our deepest apology for this year, but it was out of our control.

Pamela Hall

Louis Hall

Mary Kimball

Leslie Hardacre

Rebecca Morits

Sean Morits

Logan Hall

Katie Hernandez

Pumpkins in the Park

Planning Committee

New Milford