In March 2004 the voters approved the $1.1 million dollar purchase of a 14 acre parcel of land for public use, through a 20 year loan. The land has road frontage on Blakely Road and East Lakeshore Drive and 470 feet of lakeshore frontage, all in close proximity to the existing Bayside Park and Colchester Schools.
Prior to the vote, the Colchester Planning Commission conducted surveys and meetings to determine the interest in purchasing and recommendations for uses for the land. The most popular use was a Community Center, specifically a multi-generational recreation facility to serve as an anchor of this important portion of Town.
The Town created a concept plan for Lower Bayside Park, Upper Bayside Park and the Bayside/Hazelett Property, in conjunction with a larger effort known as the Mallets Bay Initiative. The Malletts Bay Initiative included major water quality improvements such as the $308,000 (56%) in additional annual funding for Stormwater beginning in 2017.
The 2016 Bayside Park concept plan included meetings with community stakeholders, residents and Town boards. Through this process, it was determined that a Community Center should be located at Upper Bayside Park and the amenities that are currently at Bayside Park be relocated to the Bayside/Hazelett Property to make room for the future Community Center. Through the meetings with various members of the community and public meetings a list of amenities were identified.
In 2017 the Bayside Park concept plan was more fully developed with three additional public meetings and a presentation to the Selectboard. The result was a master plan noting layouts of the Bayside parcels showing which amenities would go on which parcels. In September 2019, the Selectboard authorized Town staff to develop final plans and cost estimates for the Bayside/Hazelett Parcel.
The final design—funded through development impact fees—will culminate in a proposal for the Selectboard’s consideration to place recreation amenities on the Bayside/Hazelett parcel including: a large natural area, pickleball courts, tennis courts, a playground, a dog park, disc golf, covered picnic pavilions, restrooms, and walking and bicycling trails. Should the Selectboard approve this proposal, it would be brought to the voters for their consideration.
From the conception of the purchase of the Bayside/Hazlett property in 2004 to present, it has been envisioned as a location for recreation amenities. The public has been informed and involved, and will make the ultimate decision. On behalf of the volunteer Colchester Recreation Advisory Board, Planning Commission and the Town Selectboard, and Town administration we are proud of the process of the development of this important community improvement.
Jeffrey Bartley, Selectboard Chair
Adriane Martin, Recreation Advisory Board
Richard Paquette, Planning Commission Chair
Glen Cuttitta, Parks and Recreation Director
Sarah Hadd, Planning and Zoning Director
Aaron Frank, Town Manager