Mad River Valley Soccer Assn. players at the Mad River Park fields.

With more than 170 gifts from the local community, backing from the towns of Warren, Fayston, Waitsfield and Moretown, a grant and the gift of an anonymous donor, the Mad River Valley Recreation District and the Vermont Land Trust (VLT) have completed their fundraising to purchase the Mad River rec fields in Waitsfield.

The Mad River Valley Recreation District will purchase the 10-acre rec fields, located in the Mad River Industrial Park in Waitsfield, for $550,000. The property will be purchased from Dick and Laura Kingsbury in August.

Last year, the Mad River Valley Recreation District initiated an effort to purchase the site for long-term recreational use by the community. After securing a federal grant from the Land and Water Conservation Fund and funding from the towns of Waitsfield, Moretown, Fayston and Warren, a local fundraising committee joined together with the Vermont Land Trust this spring to raise the final $110,000 in charitable donations needed for the Mad River Valley Recreation District’s purchase of site.

“It was a privilege to provide support for this effort and work with such a dedicated fundraising committee, including Mike Nucci, Erin Chase, Dan Sullivan, Anne Greshin and John Stokes, who believe deeply in the value of Mad River Park for kids and the whole community,” said Liza Walker, Mad River Valley director for the Vermont Land Trust. “Their leadership and willingness to reach out to friends and neighbors for help made this campaign a success.”

“We are extremely grateful for the community support and for VLT’s guidance throughout the fundraising process,” said Mike Nucci, co-chair of the Mad River Park fundraising committee.

For the Kingsburys, who have leased the fields to the town of Waitsfield for the last 12 years, the transfer of the fields to the recreation district is a welcome outcome. “I think it’s great for the community to be working together on this,” said Dick Kingsbury. “One thing about this place is that you can look out there and see all those kids have a smile on their face, which is great.”

While the terms of the previous lease agreement restricted use of Mad River Park to youth leagues during the spring and fall, recreation district ownership will provide and manage new opportunities for broader community uses of the site, such as adult leagues, pickup games, as well as summer tournaments or camps that could enhance recreation and support economic activity in The Valley.

The project will officially be completed this August, when the Mad River Valley Recreation District purchases the land from the Mad River Park Corporation. Planning is underway for a community celebration in September.