In The News

Derby Celebrates Groundbreaking On Community Park

Jun 28, 2024

Derby leaders and community members are joined by Sen. Peter Welch for groundbreaking on the town’s park project Tuesday, June 25, 2024. From left are: Al Loukes, Shelly Morey, Julie Mossa, Deb Latta, Sen. Peter Welch, Town Administrator Bob Kelley, Town Clerk Faye Morin, Aileen Coulombe. (Contributed Photo)

Derby leaders and community members were joined by Sen. Peter Welch Tuesday to celebrate the groundbreaking of the Derby Park project.

The project, years in the making, will convert acres of unused land into a new community outdoor park. Welch nominated the project for a Congressionally Directed Spending award in the FY22 process when he was a member of the House of Representatives.

“The Derby Park project is a commitment to Derby’s future. It will make an impact on many generations all at once—from the folks with the Senior Summer Day Camp who will get to use the pickleball court to kids who will get to play, learn and grow playing. These are tax dollars coming right back to Derby,” said Welch. “I’m so proud to play a part in supporting this project that will create great space for community members to gather and enjoy Vermont’s natural beauty.”

The town of Derby’s basketball and tennis courts were built decades ago and in need repairs and upgrades. The town requested Community Projects Funding from then-Representative Welch in 2022 and received $517,750 in the CDS funding.

With this funding, Derby will convert acres of unused nearby land into a community park and recreation area. The project will include 4 pickleball courts, a tennis court and a basketball court along with walking paths, fitness stations, benches and more.

Town Administrator Bob Kelley explained the history of the project during brief remarks before the ceremonial groundbreaking, explaining how town voters approved purchasing the acreage when it came up for sale in 2018 for $150,000.

“They had the foresight to realize that this would be a good purchase for the town,” Kelley said, noting it was several years later that the idea for the park began to take shape.

Al Loukes of Senior Summer Day Camp, which had a large contingent of members on hand for the celebration, commended the project and the positive impact it would have on the community and program members.

“Our mission statement is to stay active, have fun and make new friends,” said Loukes of how the park would help community members achieve that.

Kelley said construction on the project is slated to begin in July, and the courts are expected to take a couple of months to finish.

“We are happy that it’s getting started here,” Kelley said. “Things are finally moving along.”

Story Written by Andrew McGregor, Caledonian Record

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