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Select Board roundup: HHS car parade OK’d for final year

by | Feb 7, 2023 | Education, Featured: News, News, Police & Fire

A divided Select Board on Tuesday agreed to approve a graduation car parade for Hopkinton High School’s Class of 2023, but with the understanding that this will be the final year for the event.

A vote simply to approve the parade failed, 3-2, leading to a second motion to allow the event but with the condition that it be discontinued after this year. That motion passed, 4-1.

Concerns were raised about the impact on emergency access and the disruption to traffic. It was noted that when the parade was first held in 2020, it was intended to be a one-time event to recognize those students who had most of their senior year celebratory events canceled (with a scaled-down graduation postponed until that summer).

However, despite objections from emergency personnel, the graduation car parade returned in 2021 and 2022.

Class President Shelby Jones and Student Council President Daniel D’Alleva noted that the Class of 2023 was the last class that experienced a COVID interruption at the high school, so having one more parade would tie it all together.

They shared that organizers addressed some of the emergency access concerns, such as shortening the route by a couple of miles (to 4.2), eliminating some main roads and only taking right turns.

Fire Chief Bill Miller said that during the first HHS car parade in 2020, there was an issue getting to a medical emergency on Chestnut Street. He pointed to Ash Street — part of the current route — as a key concern due to it being so narrow.

Police Chief Joseph Bennett added that the parade is “very disruptive” and leads to angry motorists.

Select Board member Irfan Nasrullah said he was reluctantly opposed to the event due to the public safety issues. Mary Jo LaFreniere and chair Amy Ritterbusch said they were OK with this year’s event as long as it was the final one.

Muriel Kramer and Shahidul Mannan pushed for the parade to continue as an annual event, noting that the town is able to accommodate the Boston Marathon as well as the Little League parade and, prior to the pandemic, the July 4 Horribles parade. Kramer added that events such as the junior prom and back-to-school nights disrupt traffic as well. She encouraged making adjustments as needed to keep the event running.

“I think the COVID pandemic gave us a beautiful event,” Kramer said. “I’d be delighted to see it continue.”

Added Mannan: “We’re the Marathon town. We can figure it out and handle this.”

After the initial vote failed and the condition was added, Kramer expressed her frustration and took exception with the board “making a decision for a future board.”

Said Kramer: “If we can’t figure out a parade, I don’t know what we’re doing.”

Misc.: Schools receive donation

A donation of $1,227 for the Hopkinton Public Schools from the residents of Legacy Farms North Phase 3 was accepted by the board. …

The board accepted the resignations of Carly Grant from the Youth Commission and Peter Johnson from the Upper Charles Trail Committee (associate member). …

The board approved a change of manager for the Section 12 alcohol license for 110 Grill to Anthony Carlucci.

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