West Hartford Parks Foundation Forming, Seeking Board Members

A project launched by the Friends of Fernridge Park, wide pathways encircle most of the pool house at Fernridge Park, forming the Leslie Knope Promenade and connecting the spokes of other paths that lead to the neighborhood streets. Photo credit: Ronni Newton (we-ha.com file photo)

The West Hartford Parks Foundation is seeking to expand the successful model of the Friends of Fernridge Park to other parks throughout town.

By Ronni Newton

The grassroots nonprofit organization Friends of Fernridge Park has had enormous success and made a profound impact on the neighborhood, and that same model is being taken to the next level in the creation of a foundation to support all of West Hartford’s parks in a similar manner.

Resident Steve Kutscher, one of the organizers of the West Hartford Parks Foundation, said the goal is to create a “town wide group dedicated to stewardship, enjoyment, and improvement of West Hartford parks built on the ‘Friends of Fern’ model.”

According to Kutscher, the goal will be to expand the scope of the mission of Friends of Fernridge Park to include all of the town’s parks, so they can be improved and enhanced for the enjoyment of current as well as future generations.

The West Hartford Parks Foundation will receive some seed money from the Friends of Fernridge Park – which will be subsumed by the new organization – and will focus on developing an overall vision for the town’s parks as well as for specific parks, initiating projects, and reviewing submitted projects to realize that vision and shape the future of the town’s parks. The organization will work in collaboration with town staff and other boards and commissions.

The following mission statement, which is still a work in progress, has been drafted: “WHPF is a grassroots organization dedicated to preserving, enhancing and supporting the network of neighborhood parks through advocacy, stewardship, and education. We strive to raise awareness of and increase appreciation for our local parks through all of our activities.”

Board members are currently being recruited, and all interested in getting involved with the West Hartford Parks Foundation on the ground level are invited to a 30-minute informational meeting, which will be held virtually, on April 21 at 7 p.m. The meeting will include an overview of the organization, discuss the role of board members, and provide time for questions and answers.

Anyone interested in attending should email Steve Kutscher at [email protected] by April 19 to receive the link for the meeting.

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