Letter: Tough Kids broke records but we are sorry about the traffic

Posted 6/12/19

To the editor:

Sunday, June 9, was a great day for the WES/MAC PTO, the parent-led organization that supports the Macomber Primary and Westport Elementary Schools in Westport. We hosted our 5th …

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Letter: Tough Kids broke records but we are sorry about the traffic

Posted

To the editor:

Sunday, June 9, was a great day for the WES/MAC PTO, the parent-led organization that supports the Macomber Primary and Westport Elementary Schools in Westport. We hosted our 5th annual Tough Kids Challenge with record breaking support and turnout. Over 1,300 participants showed up to support the PTO by giving their all on a field run that includes obstacles, water slide and mud pit crawl.

This year, with the work at the Middle School site, we needed to find a new home for our event. The Russell family of Westport Rivers Vineyard & Winery graciously stepped up and offered not only their fields, but resources and manpower to support our event and our schools. Without them, we were faced with the possibility of this event being discontinued.

We are excited to share that proceeds from this event will contribute close to $30,000 to the PTO budget for the coming year. This budget helps to fund technology, classroom supplies, buses for field trips, enrichment assemblies, and curriculum grants for grade K-6.

This year, we did face some struggles. The most important is that we severely impacted local neighbors and traffic. The event is structured so that races take off every 30 minutes in large heats over the course of three hours. This year, it seems that most participants came all at once. As the winery has limited parking, this put a strain on local roads. Participants were forced to park on Cadman’s Neck, Horseneck, and Pine Hill Road. We would like to sincerely apologize to all of those affected, including Pine Hill Gas Station that had to keep their parking spaces open for customers, and local residents who had participants park on their private property.

A tremendous amount of planning goes into this event and the traffic became an unforeseen obstacle. Next year’s planning will include several police details, proper signage that will alert local traffic of the event, and structuring that will spread out arrival times. We will seek to learn from this year’s mistakes and improve for next year.

Year after year we have received an incredible outpouring of support from the local community, both businesses and private citizens alike. We want to thank all of those supporters and volunteers for contributing and supporting our children and our schools.

Jennifer McMahon

President, WES/MAC PTO

Tough Kids Challenge co-chair

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