Wednesday January 16, 2013

WEST BRATTLEBORO -- When Dave Weaver got involved in a project he tended to stick with it.

Before Weaver died on May 30, 2012 he was a long serving volunteer for a number of local organizations. He coached his own Small Fry Baseball team, Dave’s Painting, for 33 years. He was involved with local housing issues for 16 years as a volunteer for Brattleboro Area Housing Association. He was on the board of the Westgate Tenant’s Association, was instrumental in Westgate becoming tenant-owned and served on other boards from Save the Homes to CABA.

On Saturday the Westgate Housing Association will name the field behind Chelsea Royal Diner in Weaver’s name. The gathering will start at 2 p.m. and will include food and a bonfire in Weaver’s memory.

In 2011 Westgate purchased the five-acre field behind the diner after a local fundraising effort was able to match some state money that was available to preserve the land, which is prone to flooding.

Westgate Housing tenant Mary Tier said Weaver’s name was brought up when the housing group was trying to come up with a name for the field

"Most of his life he did a lot of volunteer work," Tier said. "He kept a watchful eye over people. We want to do this in his memory and honor."

The Vermont River Conservancy purchased the field in June 2010.

The deal went through after the West Brattleboro Association was able to raise $30,000 for the $75,000 land purchase.


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The land was conserved to help protect it as a way to mitigate flooding in West Brattleboro.

Westgate took over ownership the next year.

After Weaver died last year Tier says Westgate officials wanted to name the field in his honor to remember the work he did to help raise the money for the purchase, as well as to remember the work he did for the housing group and for other organizations around Brattleboro.

"Dave cared about people," said Tier. "He helped a lot of people get on their feet. He was the kind of guy who said he would do something, and then he would do it."

When the Westgate Housing facility was in danger of being bought out by a private firm, Weaver organized the tenants and was able to have the residents take over ownership.

Byron Stookey worked with Weaver on a few projects. He said Weaver was able to organize people and work with local and state lawmakers to help complete complicated and difficult projects.

As coordinator of Brattleboro Area Affordable Housing for 15 years, it was Weaver’s job to talk with area residents who were having trouble paying their bills and help them find the resources to get them out of tough times. Stookey said Weaver was good at helping the people, doing the paper work and making sure all of the loose ends were taken care of.

"Its extremely fitting to honor Dave like this," said Stookey. "He was marvelous with the people he helped. He cared about people and related with people, whomever they were. He devoted himself to the community in a whole lot of different ways."

Saturday’s event will be held in the Westgate Community Center (which Weaver also helped to build) if the weather is bad.

Howard Weiss-Tisman can be reached at 802-254-2311, ext. 279, or hwtisman@reformer.com. You can follow him on Twitter @HowardReformer.