1. Summarize the history of the CREW project
from original idea all the way to its future plans.
This is a long answer but I will try to make it brief. I was the
president of the Morristown Recreation Committee around 1996 and 1997. As
you probably know, Morrisville has a small outdoor rink by the graded
building. I was also the director of the Lamoille County Planning Commission
that works on town planning and community development. One thing I kept
hearing in Morrisville and around the county was that there needed to be
more year round recreational opportunities. After discussing this need with
a Rotary member and the former director of the Lamoille Economic Development
Council, a meeting was organized to see if others in the county were
interested in developing a recreational resource (as yet to be defined).
That meeting was held in January of 1998. About 50 people came and expressed
their ideas for future recreation needs. From that night 3 subcommittees
were formed - Public Relations, Site Selection and Finance (or Fundraising).
A survey was distributed at the March Town Meeting where over 1300 responses
came back. The number 1 choice was for an indoor pool. #2 was ice rink, then
soccer, track, fitness center, tennis courts, basketball courts, outdoor
trails. There were a few key people involved in the organizational
structure, so we decided to form a non-profit organization to be eligible
for grants instead of being under the town of Morristown's recreation
program. We adopted organizational bylaws, got incorporated, and founded
CREW. The 3 founding members were John Connell, Eddie Gale and myself. After
that we received a $10,000 donation to conduct a feasibility study. The
study reported that the larger community (county) could not support
financially both a pool and a rink. At the same time the Swimming Hole in
Stowe was being planned so CREW eliminated the pool component. Then we
started raising money, securing a piece of land through a generous donation
of cash to purchase it, looking at building types, working with Paul Trudell
- our architect, and started the permitting process. 6 years after the first
meeting CREW had a building.
2. Where did you get the funding for the
Private donations, several grants from both public money and
private foundations, fundraisers, businesses, donations of gifts for
raffles. The area banks have been very good supporters of CREW.
3. Did you think it would take so long to get
the funds raised to do the project?
I actually thought it would take longer. We I first started
on this project I thought it might take 10 years or so.
4. Are there any interesting stories connected
to the sources of funds you received?
Every donation has an interesting story. We have had items
donated, gifts from a foundation for a woman who died in the World Trade
Center attack, a girl who turned 13 after having childhood leukemia donated
her birthday money to CREW, bottle drive money, and another girl donated her
Batmitzva money. The story of Pam's Pond is about Pam Cole (local artist,
hockey player and founding board member John Connell's wife) who died in a
tragic car accident in 2000. Her new baby, Georgia, survived but is still
recovering from the accident. A large donation from a family friend was
received to name the rink after Pam.
5. Why are you particularly interested in this
I have always been an advocate for community recreation in
Lamoille County going back to the founding of the Catamount Trail through
the county. My children are all interested in all sports. There were many
kids and families who were not involved in sports because their families
could not afford the cost or the time to drive to Burlington or Montpelier
or Essex to take advantage of their facilities. In my job I saw Lamoille
County families and money leaving the region because there was nothing here.
The CREW facility was developed to provide opportunities for all children
and families, to keep local money and families here, and to encourage all
kids to participate. Side benefits projected are: reduced crime rate,
reduced teen pregnancies, reduced drug and alcohol use, healthier families,
6. What do you think this facility will offer
five to ten years from now?
Complete Phases 1 and 2 (fitness center upstairs)
Nature area along shore line
2 picnic shelters as planned
Boathouse as planned
Possible pool (indoor or outdoor seasonal)
Possible lodging component for year round camps, retreat, professional
Possible second building for year round indoor soccer plus events and the
original building for year round ice
All trails leading to and from CREW with an established rail trail connector
Clean up of Lake Lamoille to make it swimmable
7. Who were the main people behind the project?
There were lots of people involved with the development of
CREW. Everyone played very important rolls from coordination, to outreach to
fundraising, to providing funds.
Paul Trudell, Architect
Dave Polow, Attorney
Concept II - Supporter
Union Bank - Finance
Larry Gluckman - first treasurer and organizational work
Myself, John Connell and Eddie Gale as incorporators and founding board
All of the board of directors through the years
Morrisville Water and Light
Now that CREW is operational, the key players are the current board of
directors with Millie Merrill as president, and Kelly Miller, CREW's first
full time executive director, will carry out the goals of the organization
and run the facility.