Parks and Recreation Department
To the Citizens, the Board of Selectmen, and the Town Manager:
2016 proved to be an eventful year for the Recreation Department. We had several new program offerings, a centennial celebration, new additions added to our facilities along with a few other new events.
On Saturday, June 18th we celebrated Hippach Field’s 100th anniversary. It was the most perfect evening for baseball you could ever ask for. The event began with introductions by Paul Mills, Town Manager Richard Davis, and local baseball historian Roger Spear. A few of Howard Hippach’s relatives were in attendance and the first pitch of the game was thrown out by Edward Spalding, the great nephew of Howard Hippach himself. As the Dirigo Vintage Baseball Club played the Sunrise Vintage Baseball Club of Brunswick the smell of hot dogs and kettle corn wafted through the air. The sun set and as the game slowly transitioned under the lights, it truly transcended us to another time with Model T cars parked nearby and the teams sitting on their benches made of hay bales. I am very pleased with the celebration that reached nearly 800 people and am grateful to Bucky Leighton, Roger Spear, Richard Davis, Paul Mills, Dave and Ellie Duley, and Jack Peck for taking the time to help plan and organize such a wonderful event.
The Department also had an Easter Egg Hunt on Easter Day at Walton’s Mill Pond Park in West Farmington. There were about 1,000 eggs with a piece of candy placed in the Park with a 10 egg limit for the 75 – 100 children that enjoyed the hunt that morning. We also sponsored our first ever Earth Day event called “Adopt-a-Park”, where seven volunteers from our community came and helped clean up all of the litter in our parks around town. Probably the most surprising response was to our Trunk-or-Treat Event here in the Community Center parking lot, where we had 16 participants register and decorate their vehicles to distribute Halloween candy to children and have a chance at being crowned the Trunk-or-Treat Champion. This event drew nearly 1,000 children to view the decorated vehicles with their families. The staggering numbers we have received this year are encouraging to our Department to say the least.
Additions to our Department this year through grants included a new rock climbing bouldering wall at the Community Center and a new ice skating rink with a combined value of over $23,000, thanks to the Healthy Community Coalition and the Carol M. White Physical Education Program grant. Walmart also contributed $1,000 toward the new ice skating rink. We were able to run several new rock climbing programs during the summer and fall as well as begin a Middle School Climbing Club. We have just started setting up the new rink as I write this and are looking forward to an improved facility this winter.
The Department was also able to acquire a new gymnasium floor covering for elections, building rentals, and meetings.
The volleyball court at Hippach Field was also revitalized with grant funds from McDonald’s. Some lights were repaired and more installed for evening matches, as well as a new net and boundary line. The sand court was re-tilled and weeded and now I often see many residents enjoying a new activity as I pass by Hippach Field.
The Parks have all received a few make-overs with large amounts of brush removed, fences replaced, trees pruned and most notably the flower beds having the attention they deserve. Emily O’Donnell was hired this past summer to share her expertise in ornamental horticulture with our Department. She has begun the process of rehabilitating our flower beds and other ornamental areas of our parks. Her experience has allowed us to accept a few new responsibilities along the Fairbanks Road wall, the new parking lot on Church Street, as well as the traffic island flower garden at the intersection of Routes 2 and 4.
If anyone would like more information about the Parks and Recreation Department feel free to stop by or check out our Facebook page www.facebook.com/farmingtonrec.
Matthew L. Foster