Wilton Recreation gift goes into trust fund

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Kineowatha Park in Wilton (Facebook photo)

WILTON — Selectpersons recently voted to place a $360,000 donation to the town’s Recreation Department in a trust fund to start earning interest.

They also asked Town Manager Rhonda Irish to seek interest rates on a $160,000 loan to undertake three projects requested by the Recreation Committee in order to decide how to proceed.

An anonymous donor provided the funding earlier this year for youth programs sponsored by and facilities maintained by the Recreation Committee, according to Recreation Director Frank Donald.

It was given with the intent to get projects done, he said.

The Recreation Committee has determined three projects to undertake in 2018 amounting to about $160,000. The committee previously proposed putting $200,000 in a trust fund and spending $160,000 of it.

The three proposed projects include replacement of docks for the swim program at Kineowatha Park for about $52,000; playground equipment upgrades for Kineowatha and Bishop parks at about $20,000 each; and replacement of a building at Kineowatha used as a skating rink warming shack/recreation director’s office for about $68,500, Donald said.

After meeting with Portland Trust representatives, selectpersons discussed how much of the gift should go into the trust fund and how much capital to spend on projects. 

Putting as much as possible into the trust fund would provide a better return on the investment while addressing the needs of the Recreation Department, Selectperson Jeffrey Adams said. The interest earned would be more than the interest paid. Paying off a loan with funding from interest on the $360,000 would provide for the future rather than spending down the capital, he said. 

“More put into the trust (now) means more money down the road,” he said. 

Some selectpersons questioned the intent of the family and how soon they might expect to see upgrades. A question was also asked about whether other projects would be done before the loan was paid off, potentially a 5- to 10-year period.

Regardless, the work will be done at no cost to taxpayers, Selectperson David Leavitt said.

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