Enosburg rec

Residents, including Heather Moore in the foreground, wander the SE Group displays at the rec fields input session Thursday evening.

ENOSBURG FALLS — Residents here took a peek at possible improvements to the community recreation fields Thursday evening.

Dozens wandered through and around the Enosburg Emergency Services building, looking at displays the SE Group prepared, the same consulting firm behind the Vital Village downtown planning project.

Now the SE Group is designing possible improvements to the community recreation fields, directly beside the emergency services building and across from the Hannaford plaza.

The Enosburgh Community Recreation Commission hired the SE Group using grant funding from the Vermont Dept. of Housing and Community Development.

The DHCD awarded the ECRC a $17,700 municipal planning grant, based on an application, titled “A Playing Field That Serves the Whole Community,” emphasizing the need for basic improvements to the rec fields — lighting and seating, for example — while also exploring potential community-building developments like a pickleball court and edible landscaping.

The idea behind the application was, basically, redesigning these rec fields based on the community’s wants and needs.

With that in mind, Thursday evening was the community’s first chance to shape those decisions, with more chances to come.

Potential improvements in the three initial design options the SE Group shared Thursday evening include a pavilion building with restrooms, a new road allowing parallel parking, a playground, a walking track, a nature trail, a baseball and softball field, even a gaga pit.

Dozens of people streamed in and out of the emergency services building. Many hung around to socialize over a barbecued meal.

Those in attendance offered input less on the preliminary designs and more on community needs and priorities, which could then inform developing these designs.

Residents placed green dots on the display boards, indicating preference on a scale from “Nice to include” to “Gotta have it!”

Based on those charts, residents strongly favored the possibility of festivals in the park, whether music-, sports- or arts-centric.

They also strongly favored community events. The SE Group’s examples were “Theater in the Woods,” Oktoberfest and a “Haunted Forest.”

Residents’ preferences when it comes to potential site elements were also clear.

Residents strongly green-dotted in favor of a walking track, of accessible walking paths, of a natural playground or “wild play” area and of a traditional playground, too.

The possibility of a pavilion or similar shade structure drew a plethora of green dots saying it was a must — and only one saying it would be nice to have.

Every green dot placed on walkway lighting said it was a must.

Residents seemed less enthused about a hardscape for events, which is exactly how it sounds, hard landscaping materials like brick, stone or concrete, about seating, somewhat ironically, and about a boardwalk or similar platform.

When it comes to events, residents were less enthused about race events, like marathons and triathalons, and private events, like weddings, family reunions or team building events.

No one formally spoke on the project. Shawna Lovelette, the ECRC’s treasurer, said the next gathering on the project might be a more formal, organized meeting, based on the broader community input gathered Thursday evening.

Several people provided vocal input on the project to SE Group consultants at Thursday’s gathering. Some continued to do so even as the consultants packed up their displays.

For more information on the ECRC, or the project, contact the ECRC by emailing recdirector@enosburghvt.org.

The ECRC also meets the third Wednesday of every month at the Enosburgh Community Center on Missisquoi Street from 5-6:30 p.m.