The History of Recreation and Parks in Essex Junction
In 1953 the Essex Lions Club led the campaign to build the Maple Street Pool and a new era in recreation in Essex Junction began. The Village recognized the need to formalize management of the pool and other recreational opportunities for residents and created the EJRPD in 1970. Over time, basketball and tennis courts, playgrounds, baseball and softball fields and picnic facilities were added to the growing requests for recreational services for the village’s residents. Cascade Park and Stevens Park were added to better serve neighborhoods not as convenient to the Maple Street facility. A brief chronology of the village’s recreation history follows.
1922 Champlain Valley Exposition relocated to Essex Junction.
1926 Samuel Brownell built and donated the library building to the Village of Essex Junction.
1953 Maple Street Park was opened and has been operated continuously ever since.
1957 IBM arrives.
1970 Recreation and Parks Department created and first professional recreation director hired.
1970 Rec Department Governance transferred to School District
1970 Essex Junction finished construction of the Essex Junction Educational Center.
1970 An addition to the Brownell Library was completed and opened to the public.
1973 Essex Junction opened an indoor skating rink at the Educational Center.
1974 Stephens Park acquired with assistance from an LWCF grant.
1976 LWCF grant provides funding for the ball field at Cascade Park.
1979 Essex Junction School District gifted 89 acres of land at Saxon Hill
1979 Additional LWCF money received to further develop Cascade Park.
1998 State of Vermont leases the former state Tree Farm jointly to the Village of Essex Junction and the Town of Essex.
2000 The Tree Farm Management Group was formed as a non-profit for the purpose of managing the Tree Farm Recreational Facility.
2000 Village residents approve a $2.1 Million Bond to totally renovate the Maple Street Park pool and bathhouse and build a recreation center.
2002 New Maple Street Pool and Recreation Center open.
2005 Tree Farm Recreational Facility opens with twelve irrigated soccer fields.
2006 A new picnic shelter and more playground equipment are installed at Maple Street Park with assistance from an LWCF grant.
2006 The $12.5M “One Campus” project, including work that improves recreational opportunities, gets underway at Essex High School and Center for Technology, Essex.
2017 EJRP governance transferred back to the Village municipality.