A group of Wiscasset business owners has pledged money to hire officers to direct traffic downtown through Labor Day.
The conversation about privately funding traffic guards to alleviate traffic congestion on weekends through the summer season has only just begun, said James Kochan, a resident and downtown business owner who is spearheading the effort. Already up to $10,000 has been raised, Kochan said.
The Wiscasset Board of Selectmen voted unanimously to direct Town Manager Marian Anderson to explore hiring traffic guards and move forward with the initiative, if it seems like a possibility.
Whether the initiative is successful largely depends on the cost and availability of traffic guards, selectmen said.
The offer from business owners is a “magnanimous gesture,” Selectman Katharine Martin-Savage said. “But it seems complicated with a lot involved.”
Selectmen questioned the liability the town would have in hiring an outside company to direct downtown traffic.
The traffic guards would have to be hired through a third party, Wiscasset Police Chief Jeffrey Lange said. Lange has already asked all officers in the department if they would take on the assignment, and the answer has been no, he said.
With the help of the police department, Anderson will contact private contractors to see if they are able to take on the job.
“If it’s doable, we’ll see if we can make it happen,” Anderson said.