WILTON — The Wilton Parks and Recreation Department has received a $100,000 donation from Judith Bjorn.

“We got a nice letter in the mail and a check attached for $100,000,” Recreation Director Frank Donald told the Wilton Select Board at their Tuesday, Dec. 7, meeting.

Bjorn recently gave the same donation to the Farmington Parks and Recreation Department.

In the letter, which Donald read to the Livermore Falls Advertiser, Bjorn wrote that she wanted the money “to be used to support your expensive programs for youth and families.”

“Having been a lifelong resident in our community, I know providing healthy activities to our youth and families is critical,” Bjorn wrote, according to Donald. “Please use these funds to enhance and continue your excellent programs.”

“They basically said no strings attached … they didn’t have a specific project they wanted to see it go to,” Donald said at the meeting.


Donald told the board that the Parks and Recreation Committee has been “batting around ideas” on how the money could be spent. These ideas are just preliminary, he said.

The committee would like to see additions, maintenance and renovations for various programs, facilities and venues at the town’s parks, including Kineowatha Park.

These ideas include renovations on the basketball courts, the construction of a pavilion in the center of Kineowatha, maintenance for the disc-golf trail, adding permanent restrooms and better access to the beachfront at Kineowatha, etc.

In a phone interview, Donald said he’d most like to see the money put toward replacing the basketball courts.

“For the amount of use that the basketball court gets and the shape that it’s in right now, that would be my top priority at the moment,” Donald said.

Donald told the board that the courts are in “pretty tough shape” right now.


Donald also suggested they could spend the money on multiple small projects and one large one, spread it out across the programs.

The parks and recreation department is also seeking ideas from the community. They will be posting on their Facebook page to give residents the opportunity to offer their own input.

“It will be a kind of a collaborative effort” between the committee, the select board and the community, he said.

Donald told the Advertiser that the donation will positively impact Wilton as a whole because “whichever project or projects we take on, it’s going to enhance the overall [recreation] program.”

Donald is grateful for Bjorn’s donation because he believes the recreation department has “not necessarily gotten that [amount of money donated] very often” as other organizations in towns sometimes do, he said.

“We’ve had a lot of public support, people donating their time and a little money here or there. But that’s a pretty significant amount of money,” Donald said.


In a unanimous vote to accept the donation, the board also agreed to write Bjorn a letter thanking her for the donation, invite her during the summer to see how the donation is used and put up a plaque in honor of her donation.

“They have been so good to the community,” Selectperson Tom Saviello said. “We need to recognize them in some way.”

Donald told the board “the biggest thing” for the committee at this point is how do they “go about having access to it, any restrictions,” etc.

“Once [the recreation committee] has a better feel for what we might like to do, we’ll meet with the select board and see what the process is to get moving on some of the projects,” Donald said.

“We’re not looking to spend it tomorrow,” he added.

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