ENOSBURGH — A “dream” plan to revitalize Enosburgh’s recreation field has a new name and a new lease on life, but local officials are still looking for funding and community support.
The project, originally called the “Recreation Fields Revitalization Plan,” now referred to as “Community Park for All,” originates from a municipal planning grant administered by the Department of Housing and Community Development in 2019.
“We were looking into improving the field and so we started thinking, ‘We can add something here, we can add something there.’ We realized there’s a lot of need for playgrounds and spaces for kids and families in our town,” says Enosburgh Recreation Director Ivonne Kio.
Kio says a master plan was drawn up and adopted by the Town of Enosburgh Selectboard last summer. The municipal planning grant was used to hire a consulting group to help put the master plan together. That plan calls for a project involving seven phases, including a garden, pond, nature walk and a playground as well as improvements to the field, which is used frequently for soccer and little league games.
In the Master Plan, the total cost of the project is estimated at approximately $3 million, but Kio says that will probably fall too somewhere between $1 million and $2 million.
“We’re not trying to scare the public by saying, ‘This is what we’re doing, exactly like this.’ And we’re not doing this right away. This is something that’s in phases and even phases that will include funding from several things like grants and donations and community volunteers donating their time and even supplies to put stuff together,” she says. “It’s gonna take probably several years to complete. We expect it to change.”
The Enosburgh Recreation Department is also looking for community support and input on the project.
“We expect it to evolve, so yes we’re always open to input and we’re always looking for volunteers. We might not even do everything that’s on the plan. This is again just our dream plan but it’s a place for us to start,” says Kio.
Since the original grant was used to put together the master plan, Kio says they’re now searching for greater funding for the project.
“The plan is to focus on grants, really, because it’s so much money and if another opportunity comes along then we’ll explore it but for now we’re looking into grants and hoping for the best, there’s a lot of stuff out there and hopefully we can get that and get it going,” she says.
She also says the project is now in Phase A.
“We’re at the phase where now we’re taking that plan and we’re figuring out how we start implementing all these different elements that we planned for,” says Kio.
Phase A also includes raising awareness about the project.
“We need the community to help us get this going,” she says.
Last year, volunteers helped build a gaga pit, just one of many design implements that Kio says will enhance the viability of the park.
“A gaga pit is a structure that you can play in. It’s a simple game. If you have a ball people throw it at each other. So, it’s really simple and I actually hadn’t really heard about it until maybe two years ago and apparently it’s a really popular game across the United States,” she says.
The next part of Phase A, Kio says, will focus on the soccer field and the walking track. Once that’s completed the parking lot will be expanded and a skating pond added as well as a new ball field, basketball and tennis courts, ending with the construction of a community garden.
Kio says everything is still evolving but she hopes to have a grant to hire an engineer by the end of the year.
“I think it’s a way to enrich our community and provide them with more opportunities for physical activity and mental wellness and it’s also a nice feature for families,” says Kio.