Saturday, April 12, 2008

FOSH Sale Does Not Need City Help

A highly popular garage sale event marking its 15th year was almost the recipient of some love gone wrong when officials proposed waiving fees.

The garage sale is a premier event of Friends of Sleepy Hollow, a neighborhood group in the city’s southeast section. The group charges participants a $25 fee that not only includes a city permit but also extensive advertising to draw residents of the metropolitan area to the Queen City for treasure hunting. The group provides maps and balloons marking participating households.

Part of the sale’s mystique is that it showcases Plainfield as a city renowned for its Victorian housing stock. Buyers get to see the non-gritty side of the city as they browse antiques, collectibles and other items that residents want to pass along.

This year, officials took it upon themselves to propose a citywide waiver of the permit fee in a somewhat misguided effort to hang on FOSH coattails to attract bargain hunters.

FOSH organizers pointed out that unless the city was going to replicate the advertising and promotion efforts of the neighborhood group, giving everyone a free permit on May 18 was only courting disaster.

Luckily for FOSH, the matter did not come up at the April 7 council meeting for a vote and hopefully is moot at this point.

Councilman Cory Storch pointed out that all FOSH wanted from the city was an expeditious handling of the 80 or so permit requests to the City Clerk’s office. A blanket approval for the permits would avoid delay and stress on staff to process each permit individually.

The sale is scheduled for 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. May 18, rain or shine, and potential sellers must register and pay by April 18. Contact phone numbers are Kathleen at (908) 668-1595 or Susan at (908) 561-5619.

This event has always been very well-organized and has resulted in positive publicity for Plainfield. To broaden it citywide with no fees may be well-intentioned, but it overlooks the organizational aspects that make the sale viable and productive.

--Bernice Paglia


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think "courting disaster" is a bit of an exaggeration. The city could have waived the permit fee and FOSH could have simply charged residents a lower fee to participate in the garage sale that would cover advertising etc. With the high taxes we pay in this city, this would have been a small enough expenditure to give us something back -- and may have encouraged other neighborhoods to plan similar events. I hope the council will reconsider.

10:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Where did "courting disaster" come from?

12:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Bernice,
I wonder if FOSH has any owner participants from the Crescent Historic District or the North Avenue District? If this wonderfullly run event were held today, vistors to these architecturally significant neighborhoods would be greeted by trash & debris, abandoned and run-down buildings, and if they were unlucky, they would be asked for change by a less fortunate sole. Since I don't take for granted the contribution that FOSH has made to our community, I ask, what would Plainfield be like if groups like FOSH did't rise out of the frustration and disapointment that the "every-day Joe" faces and orchestrate an event that puts glitter on the facade of this grand old city?

2:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the rest of the city would appreciate a fee-free day.

9:47 AM  

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