LACONIA — Members of the city's Firefighter Relief Association said yesterday they had no idea they would be violating a state law when they held last week's "boot drive" in the roadways at Lakeport Square to benefit the Children's Auction.
The firefighter's boot drive, where people place change and small bills into firefighters' boots, has raised money for years for what is now known as the NH1 Children's Auction and they have typically conducted the drive in the center of downtown Laconia.
Because of the downtown construction this year, the association moved the drive to Lakeport Square and set up orange cones and signs warning vehicular traffic that there was a solicitation effort ahead. The association also put notice of the boot drive on their Facebook page.
Police said they received one anonymous complaint about the fund raising effort.
Police Chief Chris Adams said that after reviewing RSA 265:40 he agrees that the "boot drive" should probably not been in the roadway at Lakeport Square.
He said he was aware of a similar issue that stemmed from boot drives in Gilmanton and said he would have to agree that it is a non-permitted use of roadways, according to state law.
There was some confusion as to whether or not the Laconia Relief Association had gotten a permit to solicit in the street and who or what agency would have issued it, but The Daily Sun has been unable to locate a written permit or find anyone within the city who would have issued it.
Other area fire departments held their "boot drives" in parking lots of private businesses.
The Tilton-Northfield Fire DEpartment joined forces with Franklin and held a drive in the Tanger Outlets while the Gilford Fire Department held their drive on private property near stores around McIntyre Circle.
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