After analyzing the alternatives, the Mad River Valley Recreation District recommends purchasing the Mad River Park (MRP) recreation fields for youth and adult recreational activities. The fields provide a place for youth participating in the Mad River Soccer Association and Mad River Valley lacrosse.

The committee tasked with assessing whether to purchase the fields took a look at whether purchasing and keeping a centralized multiple field location made more sense than trying to develop fields across The Valley after Dick and Laura Kingsbury of Mad River Park offered to sell the fields for $550,000.

The rec district board determined that creating a patchwork of fields would be more expensive, less comprehensive and less centralized as the fields at Mad River Park.

For more than 10 years, Waitsfield has leased the Mad River Park fields at an annual fee. For this year and last year the rent was $6,000. The prior years’ rent was $4,000.

“These programs support children’s health and add to the vitality of the Mad River Valley community. The fields are also enjoyed by adults for Ultimate Frisbee, model airplane flying and walking,” said rec district chair Rebecca Baruzzi.

Soccer and lacrosse use of the fields amounts to approximately 11,000 player visits per year, including practices and games in the spring and fall, she pointed out.

Waitsfield’s lease for the 8.5 acres of recreational fields at Mad River Park will expire in December 2016. The Mad River Park Corporation does not want to renew the lease but is offering the land for sale for $550,000 including the land and the construction of a parking lot for 80 cars with access from Airport Road.

Mad River Park has space for two lacrosse fields and five soccer fields for the youngest age player through adult. While Waitsfield’s name has been on the lease, Warren and Fayston, as part of the Mad River Valley Recreation District, have paid the rent jointly. All three towns contribute $15,000 annually to the recreation district.

A study committee including representatives from Mad River Soccer, lacrosse, Ultimate Frisbee and the Vermont Land Trust reviewed the space needs of current programs against dimensions of existing fields (Moretown, Couples Club, Brooks Field in Warren), and town-owned fields that could be developed further for recreational use (Munn Field and Flemer Field). The committee also investigated the possibility of leasing or purchasing two private fields – the ones adjacent to Waitsfield Telecom and to Kenyon’s.

The Kenyon fields are not available for use and there was no response from Waitsfield Telecom.

Of the current Valley fields, none is large enough for a full-size field, Brooks Field in Warren could house a fifth- and sixth-grade field, and Moretown field will shrink due to the moving of the playground to the point where it can be used for a single first- and second-grade field only. Couples Field, which is available for soccer use in the fall, has space adequate for up to third- and fourth-grade. If Munn Field and Flemer Field were brought into playing condition to replace Mad River Park they would still not provide the number of fields available at Mad River Park.

Munn Field has four useable acres with a portion of the land wooded and sloped. This would allow for two fields with an investment of $230,000, according to a local contractor, who gave an estimate based on the work required to cultivate the fields. However, the recently formed Munn Committee recommends the land be reserved for septic and river access parking.

Two large fields could be located on Flemer Field; however, field restrictions on goals make it impractical for use for games for all but the kindergarten age group. Moving goals and the weights that are used to anchor them on a daily basis is not realistic, Baruzzi said. The field surface has divots from polo use and would need to be resurfaced for regular athletic use and in that case could no longer be used for polo. Participants would need to park on Old County Road, Main Street and the Waitsfield school parking lot or at the new Waitsfield town office.

The Mad River Recreation District Field Committee recommended purchasing Mad River Park fields due to their existing good condition for athletic use, drainage capabilities, large size and centralized location.

“Mad River Park has an under layer of gravel that allows it to drain well and the fields are level. It is large enough for two lacrosse fields and four soccer fields, including a full-size field, making it adequate for all age groups given existing enrollment levels. The centralized location for multiple age groups is important to keeping participation strong. Children in families with two working parents can access car pools more easily,” said Anne Greshin, former president of the Mad River Soccer Association.

“Due to field space constraints and fluctuation in school-age populations players are not necessarily playing at their town field, making carpooling important for all. Finally, both soccer and lacrosse programs host Moretown, Waterbury and Duxbury players to make spring team rosters and MRP’s location is important to their participation,” she added.

The Mad River Recreation District has the legal ability to own land and has voted in favor of this recommendation. The committee suggested a combination of grants, private fundraising and town contributions to finance the purchase. The local select boards will be considering this information on the following dates: Waitsfield, August 22; Warren, August 9; and Fayston, September 19. The Moretown Select Board has been asked to consider contributing to the park purchase. The MRVRD invites comments and concerns from all interested parties. Contact Rebecca Baruzzi at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..