Case Study: Guilford Community Park
The community of Guilford, VT desired a vibrant public space to gather. Thanks to the efforts of community leaders and the Better Places crowdgranting program, Guilford Community Park is now open.
The community of Guilford, Vermont desired a vibrant public space to gather. Thanks to the tireless efforts of community leaders and support of the Better Places crowdgranting program, Guilford Community Park is now open to residents.
In 2016, the Guilford Community Church purchased an adjacent lot to its property. The Community Collaborative for Guilford was formed to develop a comprehensive plan for the land. In 2021, working with Stevens & Associates, the committee developed a plan for a park that would provide a place where all the residents of Guilford and surrounding areas could meet.
This plan included a 24' x 48' timber frame pavilion. The pavilion was built on an existing slab where a double wide trailer once stood. The pavilion was created in Spring 2022 by Vermont Natural Homes in their 18th century barn in West Townsend, Vermont and built with wood harvested from southern Vermont and northern Massachusetts. In February 2023, the pavilion was raised with an audience of over 100 excited community members. $100 patrons were able to sign a pin and hammer it into place to cement their contribution to the campaign.
“Being able to help design and install the Guilford Community Park over the past 18 months has been an incredible joy and privilege. I have met so many wonderful and supportive people in Guilford. I know this park will be a center for community for years to come.” - Dwayne Johnson, Guilford Park Board Member
The park has brought people together and provided quiet beauty in a congenial and welcoming setting.
The timber frame pavilion is welcome for public use and is available for rent for private parties or events. The pavilion has hosted many community events, including church services and community dances. The stone fire pit is surrounded by benches and is a natural gathering place for singing, conversing, and relaxing. The community play area is designed for children through the age of 10 with a nearby picnic table for lunches and snacks. The classic seven‐circuit Labyrinth is a 4,000‐year‐old spiritual exercise found in many cultures throughout the world, providing a meditative walk for visitors. More is in the works for the park, including the half-court basketball court, disc golf course, soccer nets, corn hole boards, swings, and a two-person swing glider.
Impact by the Numbers
Better Places is a community matching grant program empowering Vermonters to create inclusive and vibrant public places serving Vermont's designated downtowns, village centers, new town centers, or neighborhood development areas. The program is led by the Vermont Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) in partnership with the Vermont Community Foundation, and Patronicity.