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Proposed Recreational Facility - Bissonette Site

The Town of Hinesburg has been offered a parcel of land near the southwest corner of the intersection of Shelburne Falls Road and VT Route 116 for use as new recreational fields.

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These fields are planned for an approximately 11 acre portion of land located westerly of the zoning district line between the Village Northwest district and the Agricultural district on property currently owned by the Bissonette Family.

The Bissonette Family has offered this land as a gift to the Town and the Town and the Bissonette Family have started the process of drawing up deed language for the legal transfer of ownership. Moreover, the Town budget for FY2013 (current fiscal year), approved at Town Meeting in March, includes $34,000 in the Recreation Department’s budget for the necessary legal, engineering, and permitting costs associated with turning the parcel into usable recreation fields for the public.

Last year the Town hired the engineering firm of Lamoureux & Dickinson to investigate the feasibility of constructing recreation fields on this parcel of land. The final report confirms that the project is, in fact, feasible and the acquisition of necessary state and federal permits would not prohibit the project from moving forward. This report also details the possible build-out of two (2) full sized soccer fields, a little league baseball field, tot lot, bathroom, access road, and parking area at the estimated cost of $632,000 for the full build-out of the project; however, the project could be constructed with a phased approach over a longer period of time.

Select Board member Tom Ayer is leading a fundraising campaign to complete the project with in-kind donations of labor and equipment from various private contractors and lobbying for cash donations from the public. The Town recently created a line-item in the Town budget to accept tax-deductible donations for this project. This project is also fully supported by Hinesburg’s Recreation Commission and has the support of the Town’s Select Board.

The purpose of this project is to create a recreational facility enabling the Town of Hinesburg to own a general public recreational facility that will include properly constructed soccer/lacrosse fields and a little league baseball field with an associated bathroom/storage building. The need for the project can be justified based on the following current conditions:
  1. The Town recreation department is limited in what programs they can host and the times those programs can be hosted due to the lack of available fields;
  2. The Town does not own a regulation soccer or baseball field;
  3. The Town currently does not own any recreational facility that has publically accessible restroom facilities.
Furthermore, the Bissonette Family developed a master plan for the 84.56 acres known as Lot 4 which includes the approximately 11 acre portion (referred to now as Lot 5 of land proposed here as a Town recreational facility.

This master plan shows a recreation facility, like the one proposed, as part of the full build-out of the parcel in the future; the Town’s goal is to complete the recreation fields immediately for the public good.

The Town recognizes that these fields are slated for construction on prime ag soils and the Town has struggled to minimize impacts to these soils, especially in the Agricultural district. However, given the close proximity of this parcel to the Village Growth District, the public support shown for this project to date, the adherence these plans demonstrate to the full Lot 4 master plan, and its clearly defined public need, the Town strongly advocates the subdivision of these approximately 11 acres from Lot 4 for the purpose of constructing recreation fields for the Town of Hinesburg.


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