Grass grows in the bed of Sweet Pond in Guilford. (Zachary P. Stephens/Reformer)
Grass grows in the bed of Sweet Pond in Guilford. (Zachary P. Stephens/Reformer)
Friday January 18, 2013

GUILFORD -- Guilford residents are hoping March 12 will be a "sweet" day.

That has been scheduled as "Sweet Pond Day" in Montpelier, where local backers of the drained pond will lobby state lawmakers for the popular recreational site's restoration.

"The point is to have a presence and show that there's a lot of community support," said Linda Hecker, co-chairwoman of the Sweet Pond Steering Committee.

The pond was drained in April 2011 after state officials deemed the dam at Guilford's Sweet Pond State Park unsafe.

A dam-rehabilitation project subsequently proposed in an engineering study has garnered broad support. But it carries an estimated $330,000 price tag, and state Rep. Mike Hebert -- a Vernon Republican who represents Guilford -- has pledged to help secure that funding.

Hebert also secured the date for a "Sweet Pond Day" among state legislators. Local backers expressed appreciation for Hebert's assistance.

"There's a lot of competition for this kind of thing," Hecker said.

Hecker still is seeking several additional residents to attend that event. Anyone who is interested can contact the steering committee at nipkin@myfairpoint.net.

The group also can be contacted through the "Save Sweet Pond" Facebook page.

Steering committee members hope to take printed information and a Sweet Pond video presentation to Montpelier.

They also expect to hand out coffee and baked goods, with Hecker noting that "this is what lobbying looks like in Vermont."

"We're just talking to legislators and presenting our case," she said.

The volunteer steering committee also has circulated Sweet Pond petitions and coordinated local fundraisers, including a benefit concert and a booth at the Guilford Fair.

"It is a major community concern," Hecker said. "We want to keep it in the public eye."

Mike Faher can be reached at mfaher@reformer.com or 802-254-2311, ext. 275.