FARMINGTON — Selectmen approved, with conditions, use of Meetinghouse Park for a marriage equality vigil April 20 and a Hospice House fundraiser on May 5.

High school student Astra Pierson asked the board Tuesday to use the park April 20 for an overnight vigil. She expects about 30 students to show solidarity for marriage equality at a peaceful gathering.

The park ordinance stipulates it closes at 11 p.m.

To allow this, sets a precedent, audience member Nancy Porter said. It’s this group and then another, she said.

Town Manager Richard Davis it’s a public space and a popular one, however, it’s important to set limits on use of the park.

“We did have a problem with people camping out in the historic gazebo, he said. Davis expressed concern about the group staying overnight and their intent to use candles. No open flames are allowed in the park.

Selectmen unanimously agreed to allow Pierson’s group to use the park with battery-powered candles from noon to 11 p.m., suggesting they then move to private property.

The board also approved use of the park for the Hospice House 5K, Remembrance Walk, and Kids’ 1-Mile Fun Run from 7 a.m. to noon on Sunday, May 5. The event raises funds to help hospice patients who can’t afford to be there in their last days, organizer Kelley Cullenberg said.

Last year was successful and they are hoping for even more participants this year, she said. The Sugarloaf 5K took place on the same day last year but it won’t this year, she said.

The 5K has three local sponsors who want to set up a display table or tent, she told the board.

Park rules limit business sales in the park, except for the traditional annual Art in the Park event.  

It’s only fair to stick to the rules as the board did in Pierson’s request, Selectman Joshua Bell said suggesting the businesses set up outside the park.

The board unanimously agreed to allow use of the park with that condition.

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