Fair Haven’s pet mayors pay off with playground

Published: Jan. 12, 2021 at 6:27 PM EST
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FAIR HAVEN, Vt. (WCAX) - A Vermont town that continues to elect pets as mayor has reached its goal to raise enough money for a new playground.

Two years ago Fair Haven students elected a goat as pet mayor as part of a fundraiser to build a new playground. Now, with a dog presiding in the mayor’s office, they’ve reached their goal. “I think the playground’s going to be nice. They have posters inside of what it’s going to look like, but no one knows for sure,” said Braytin Dougherty, a local 3rd grader.

Fair Haven has fixed their 30-year-old playground multiple times, but officials and area kids agree it’s showing its age. “The new slides been broken for a while and they fixed it once and it broke again. Then, some of the stairs have been broken and it’s kind of old and rusty in some spots,” said Seth Czachor, 6th grade.

The school elected a pet mayor to help raise money for a brand new one and match a $50,000 grant through the state’s Land and Water Conservation Fund.

“It was probably the best, most exciting project I’ve ever done. Most unique for sure,” said Fair Haven Town Manager Joe Gunter. He says the first pet mayor, Lincoln the goat, raised about $10,000 and that incumbent Mayor Murfee has brought in over $20,000. “Some businesses donated and families. They knew about the mayors and they knew where that money was going so they have an ownership of that project and they’re excited.” Gunter says they hope to have the new playground finished before summer.

And local kids like Owen and Phoenix Fabian can’t wait.

Reporter Olivia Lyons: What’s your favorite part about a new playground?

Owen Fabian: Spinny slide!

Phoenix Fabian: Learning how to do high monkey bars.

Mayor Murfee’s publicist, Linda Barker, says she’s not sure if Murfee will be running again this spring, but she has spoken with Gunter and says either way, the town should continue electing pet mayors.

“We intend to continue fundraising, maybe find another great community-based project that folks want to raise money for,” Gunter said.

Czachor says he voted for Murfee last election day. “They’ve done a lot of raising money for the playground and I’m glad that they were able to get enough money so we can have a new playground,” he said

One politician that these young voters agree has gotten things done for the community.

Related stories:

Fair Haven elects new pawtastic mayor

Goat mayor of Fair Haven faces ‘ruff’ race for reelection

Goat sworn in as mayor of Fair Haven

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