Local residents, businesses and tourists congregated at the Hadlyme ferry slip on Tuesday to gather support for their efforts to help save the historic Connecticut River ferries.
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy has proposed shuttering the historic Hadlyme-Chester and Rocky Hill-Glastonbury ferries as part of a broader effort to close a $1.6 billion shortfall in his two-year budget.
Dr. Matt Elgart, fondly referred to as the "Mayor of Hadlyme," drove his classic 1948 Chrysler New Yorker from his office on the Chester side of the Connecticut River to the Hadlyme ferry slip to show his support for keeping the ferry service going.
Dr. Elgart, a resident of Hadlyme, is on-call 24 hours a day, and the closing of the ferry service would "impact my accessibility to get quickly from one side of the river to the other" to help patients.
The owner of a building in Hadlyme that houses the Hadlyme Country Store, Dr. Elgart is also concerned about the effect the closing of the ferry would have on local businesses and the tourism industry.
"Imagine how the closing of the ferry would affect the livelihood of the store," he said. "It would take the heart out of the tourism draw of this region and impact a lot of local businesses and tourist destinations."
Ilene Mitnick, manager of the Chester Sunday Farmers Market, feels that the closing of the ferry service would be extremely damaging to the local economy (see video).
In order to get the word out on saving the ferries on a national level, supporters were waiting in the hot sun at the Hadlyme ferry slip for the crew of the CBS Morning Show, who will be profiling the story on their news program on Thursday morning.
While they were waiting, activists kept busy by singing, hula-hooping and handing out postcards to ferry-goers that list phone numbers to call to oppose the closing of the ferries.