MANCHESTER >> Several recent financial donations have pushed the town's fundraising efforts for two new fields and several other changes planned for the Dana Thompson Recreation park across the finish line, allowing the start of preliminary construction work to proceed as planned.
Last week, fundraising efforts to pull together at $300,000 to stood only a few thousand dollars shy of that mark, Since then two large donations of $10,000 each — one by rk Miles Inc. and another by Vermont Country Store — pushed the town over that threshold, said John O'Keefe, the town manager.
The two $10,000 donations will be used to pay for electronic scoreboards for each of the two new fields anticipated under the reconfiguration that will be part of a larger changeover at the Rec Park, which will include moving the skateboard park and construcing or refurbishing other playing fields and recreation areas.
Residents approved an expenditure of $75,000 during March Town Meeting, bolstering two earlier gifts of $75,000 by Burr and burton Academy and $125,000 by Derry Taylor, a local resident and philanthropist. Several other smaller gifts had pushed the funds raised to close to the $300,000 mark than town officials felt they needed before actual work could start.
Including other donations, the town now has roughly $325,000 to get statred on the project. The full build-out of the fields, which will be used for local schools, clubs and other events, including full-scale tournaments, is estimated at aprroximately $400,000.
The town hopes to start the work on the new fields and other improvements at the Rec Park in early June.