Parks and Recreation Department
To the Citizens, Select Board, and Town Manager:
After what seemed like forever, our department had its most “normal” year in quite some time. With all of our facilities open and programs finally running again this year, things are starting to feel more like the good old days here at the Recreation Department!
With COVID-19 winding down we were able to run over 50 programs in 2022. Participants ranged anywhere from 6 months old in our parent/child learn to swim program to 88 years old in our Forever Fit Beginner Art Class. Our numbers started out a little low after our return to in person activities in 2021 but have climbed back to pre-COVID numbers and even surpassed those numbers in many of our programs.
The Recreation Department was featured in the October, November, and December issues of Maine Town and City along with a few other recreation departments in the state. The three-part series explored the important role recreational programs play in communities across Maine.
Several land and property improvements were completed in 2022. Most notably, the fieldhouse roof was finally replaced with a new 30-year warranty metal roof to preserve Hippach Fields’ last remaining original structure. The fence at VIS Park in West Farmington was replaced earlier this summer with help from a group of middle school children for their annual “Cougars in the Community” community service day event. Walton’s Mill Park has seen some significant renovations as well with the support of the Atlantic Salmon Federation. The dam at the park has been removed to allow Temple Stream to flow freely for the first time in over 200 years! The project also incorporated a freshly renovated park, which has seen some significant improvements so far in 2022 and will be completed in the spring/early summer of 2023. Final grading, landscaping, planting of over 2,000 perennial plants, shrubs, and bushes, as well as 40-60 trees will be completed in 2023. There will also be a new restroom, pavilion, and natural play area back near the pavilion, creating a new space for residents to enjoy.
The Town also entered into a contract with Platform Group in Florida for the design, cost estimate, and construction documents for a newly designed skateboard park. The new park will replace Maine’s first public skateboard park, “The Dragon’s Nest”, which was unearthed in 2020. The funds for this portion of the project were generously donated by Seth Wescott and the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce. Once the designs and documents are received, grant writing and fundraising will be pursued in 2023, and a “Dragon’s Nest 2.0” will be in the works for construction in the coming years.
The Recreation Department received a grant from Walmart in the amount of $2,000 to assist in purchasing a new skating rink liner for the ice rink at Hippach Field. The previous liner lasted about six winters. We also recently received a $50,000 grant (big thanks to Cindy Gelinas for her work on this grant) to go towards installing a new HVAC system at the Community Center. This will be done in conjunction with the roof replacement project scheduled for 2023, which will utilize the funds allocated from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) the town received.
In 2022, the Recreation Department was able to provide a little over 40,000 hours of participation through programming alone to our residents and surrounding communities. This number only includes programming and does not include drop-in park/facility use for passive recreation or the use from outside organizations that utilize our facilities. Participation in recreational activities directly affects the mental, physical, emotional, and social health of people who participate in them. We are proud of the significant impact we have had this past year on the people in our communities!
The success of our Department comes from the employees who work here, so please, next time you see them coaching your children on the soccer field, teaching your children how to swim, or maintaining the parks around town, stop and take a moment to thank our amazing staff for the wonderful work they do. It is our privilege and honor to continue to serve the people of Farmington!
For more information, please feel free to call or check out our Facebook page www.facebook.com/farmingtonrec.
Matthew L. Foster, CPRP
Director of Parks and Recreation