Enosburgh ramps up campaign to build community playground

Published: Sep. 6, 2023 at 3:11 PM EDT
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - There’s a new push to create a safe space for kids to play in Enosburgh.

Heather Moore says she and her eight-year-old son have been hoping for a playground for quite some time.

“An opportunity for families to go do some recreation outside of school time,” Moore said. “One of the things we are doing in Enosburgh -- which I think we are doing an excellent job with -- is working on inclusivity. Providing space for all of our members of our community. So, we are looking for opportunities when we can to make sure that people have access all the time. I foresee us coming up here to meet with friends.”

The new vision for the community playground will be at the Enosburgh recreation fields. They hope to bring in swings, benches, and an ADA-certified play structure. The town’s Recreation Committee has been working on the project for about a year and has teamed up with the town to launch a crowdfunding campaign.

Right now, the closest playground is almost 20 miles away. But adding a playground is a pricey ask for taxpayers, who state data shows, are already financially strained. According to the Department of Housing and Community Development, 69% of Enosburgh’s pre-k through fifth-grade children are at or below the poverty level.

“Better Places was all about creating spaces for Vermonters to connect and gather coming out of the pandemic,” said Richard Amore, who manages the community matching grant program for the Agency of Commerce. If the local campaign reaches its $10,000 goal by October 31, the state will pitch in $20,000.

Enosburgh Recreation Director Margo Longway says there is a real need in the area. “Between T-ball and baseball, soccer, and multiple rec programs, there are a lot of families that come here, and we just feel by adding a playground is kind of like a missing piece.,” she said.

“To reconnect and enjoy each other’s company, we have supported a couple of playground projects, and this is the first one in Franklin County,” Amore said.

Local officials hope that the playground will be up by this spring of 2024. But in the meantime, residents and local officials will be teaming up to raise more funds.