Town seeking grant for Allen Brook park upgrades

By Stephanie Choate

Observer staff

Tennis and basketball enthusiasts could soon have a new place to play.

The Williston Recreation Department is seeking a grant to fund half the cost of two lighted tennis courts, a basketball court and paved paths to the courts at Allen Brook Community Park, the town park located behind Allen Brook School. 

The department is in the final stages of applying for a Land and Water Conservation Fund Grant for $80,000. The town would match the grant using money raised from development impact fees and funds that have been set aside each year from the general fund.

“There is lot of new housing right near there,” Town Manager Rick McGuire said. “As that builds out, there’s going to be increasing demand for rec space in that area of town.”

The grant requirements include protecting the park—or, at the very least, the project area—from future development. That has long been the town’s intention, McGuire said. The Selectboard on Monday voted to designate the park for recreational purposes in perpetuity. 

Grant allocation decisions will be announced in the spring. Construction could begin next spring, Goodwin said.

The courts are part of the town’s master plan for the park, which has been in place since May 2011. The first phase of construction on the park—two multi-use athletic fields—began in 2011, funded by impact fees from new development in town. 

The courts were originally planned as the third phase of construction at the park, McGuire said. Phase 2 involved building additional parking and realigning part of the bike path so it runs slightly north of the school, rather than between the school and its playground. 

But since the grant source had more funding available than usual this year, the town decided to propose a project more in line with the grant’s purpose and more likely to be funded.

Other amenities planned for eventual construction in the park include baseball and softball fields, a bathhouse, a third multi-purpose field and a picnic shelter.

A public meeting regarding the grant application is set for Feb. 10 at 6 p.m. in the Williston Police Station community room.