PARKE COUNTY, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) – Art, food and people will soon fill the streets in Parke County for Indiana’s largest festival.
The Covered Bridge Festival is right around the corner, and as leaders continue preparing, safety is at the top of mind.
“There were no specific concerns, there’s been no accidents. The goal from any leadership, not just Parke County Commissioners but any leadership, is to try and see what may be coming down the pike at you and deal with that before you have an accident,” Jim Meece, Parke County Commissioner said.
The festival continues to grow every year, which means more foot and vehicle traffic down the main stretch of road.
“A group of people was put together under the leadership of one of our Commissioners Dan Collom who has a business there as well, but maybe there would be a better way to route traffic without having to go through the main street through all of those people,” Meece said.
Meece said Collom is meeting with the Sheriff’s Department and business and vendor owners to get an idea of what will be the safest and most beneficial to all involved.
“So all this proposal is as I understand, and no proposal has been brought to the Commissioners yet, the proposal as I understand is a re-routing of traffic to avoid cars and trucks going down the main street there where the vendors set up. I understand that is has been worked out and it will be brought to us,” Meece said.
Meece explained that rest assured, regardless of what the plan ends up being, everyone will still be able to make it home and get to where they need to be.
“There will be no one excluded from their house, anybody who has to drive to their home will be allowed to do that, fire trucks will be allowed to do that, ambulance service, UPS, all of those things will continue. They’re just trying to find a better way to route the mass amount of traffic that comes so that it’s safer for the people,” Meece said.
Jaclyn Baxter has lived in Parke County her whole life and currently lives on the Square in Rockville.
She said those 10 days of the Covered Bridge Festival are definitely an adjustment for the community, but it’s nothing they can’t handle.
“It’s really nothing so big that it’s a problem. We’re always able to get home, we’re always able to find a parking spot. So in that regard as far as people worried about streets being blocked and not being able to get home, I don’t know that that is as big of a concern as people are worried that it’s going to be,” Baxter said.
Whatever the final plan ends up being, Baxter said it is important to reflect on all of the good that the festival brings to the community.
“Our tourism during the festival is huge and I think it’s important to remember the money it brings to our county, not just through the vendors who travel here and set up, but our local businesses, it creates extra jobs during that time,” Baxter said.
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