Pictured left to right: Betsy Orselet, executive director for VRPA, Todd Goodwin, assistant director, Tom Hubbard, director, SB Recreation Department, and Liz Robitaille, chair of the Recreation & Leisure Arts Committee.

Dorset Park Receives “Facility of Merit” Award

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Thursday June 16, 2011

Dorset Park received the “Facility of Merit” Award from the Vermont Recreation & Parks Association (VRPA) at its Annual Meeting held recently. Competitive applications were judged on the overall quality and appearance of the facility, service and value to the community, diversity of programs and activities, maintenance management, various amenities and accessibility. The award was presented by Betsy Orselet, executive director of VRPA to Tom Hubbard, director of Recreation & Parks, accepting the award on behalf of the City.

Dorset Park represents the fruition of a long-term community effort to develop a vision for the 200-acre park at the heart of the City of South Burlington. The park facility fulfilled the long-awaited need for a center for the city’s burgeoning interest in all types of recreational activity. The park also preserved a major piece of the rapidly disappearing scenic rural landscape of South Burlington for the perpetual enjoyment and use of generations to come, now referred to as Wheeler Nature Park.

The planning process for the park was a rigorous one. It involved citizens, property owners, developers, and representatives of various city departments. The enthusiasm and hard work was underscored by a shared vision for the park. This foresight protected the open space and recreation resources so highly valued by its citizens.
The demand for field space was at a premium, and shared spaces could no longer accommodate the needs for the Recreation Department and the various organizations in the city requiring space to conduct programs. Just as important, there was no central place that existed in the city where the community could come together and recreate, socialize, and enjoy the resources the city had to offer.

While many are familiar with the active park, Wheeler Nature Park has many attributes of its own. This area occupies the pastoral lands south of the active park and key features include a number of tree-dotted meadows, a series of quiet ponds and wetland areas, a mature maple grove and a beautiful ridge top pasture commanding views of Lake Champlain and the Adirondacks to the west, and the Green Mountains to the east.
Dorset Park is the premier park facility in South Burlington, and it is hard to imagine what the community would be like today without the foresight and planning that went into securing the land and properly developing the facility into what it has become today. Dorset Park continues to evolve, and the possibilities exist for future plans. South Burlington residents are excited about what we have up at Dorset Street, a city park we can identify with as our own pride and joy.

SOURCE: Recreation Department