A Complete Transformation from Jungle to Jewel
“The park has brought so many people together – it's become a real community gathering spot.” – Clint Hunt, Abracadabra Coffee
Woodstock residents and visitors of all ages come together at East End Park to relax, play and connect with each other. The park represents the culmination of more than a decade of work by area residents who transformed a previously neglected corner of the Village into an inviting community space. The group continues to maintain the area and plan for its future. The park has become a treasured community asset, a "jewel" created from a "jungle".
Located between Route 4 and the Ottauquechee River at the east entrance to the Woodstock Village downtown area, the East End Park not only welcomes residents and visitors, but also provides the only public access to the river in the Village. Years ago, the site was decidedly less inviting, used as a snow dump in the winter and a general dumping ground at other times. Sustainable Woodstock’s East End Action Group, a volunteer action group, led by Joby Thompson, Mary MacVey, Jack Rossi, Barbara Barry, and Jim Pierce, decided to re-envision the area.
Along with supporters, community partners, environmental agencies, and continuous support from Sustainable Woodstock leaders, this action group tackled three intertwined goals:
- cleaning up environmental blight
- stimulating East End economic development
- building community
In collaboration with the Village of Woodstock, a new site was purchased for the snow dump, which enabled the action group to move forward with building a year-round park. During annual workdays, volunteers cleared overgrown vegetation, battled invasive knotweed, and planted native species. The action group raised substantial money from generous private donors to implement a professional landscape design that complements the riverside setting. Professionals were also hired to build the impressive hardscape: a slide, rock scrambles and sculpture, a stone staircase, a labyrinth, a 100-seat amphitheater, and a pergola.
The transformation from “jungle” to “jewel” is stunning. Residents and visitors alike come to East End Park to relax and enjoy the pastoral views of river and hills. Adjoining the park, another volunteer group has created a pleasant recreational path, the Ottauquechee River Trail. The park’s convenient location has also helped support local enterprise, such as the coffee shop next door. Once blight was removed, neighboring properties finally sold, and private development is underway.
In addition to individual outings and private events (such as weddings), the park is now home to Music by the River, a series of concerts hosted by Pentangle Arts in July and August.
Project Plans and Support
Now a project of Woodstock Community Trust, the original action group continues their work to complete the final capital projects and transition to future professional management. A “Friends of East End Park” group of supporters has been established to ensure good stewardship and continued success of the park. Volunteers with Friends of East End Park continue to care for the gardens, plan events, keep in touch with the village government, and publicize the park.
The East End Park can be booked for events: parties, weddings, community events, concerts, shows and more. To book the park for an event, fill out the application linked below and return it to the Woodstock Town Hall at least 30 days prior to the event date. Call the Woodstock Town Hall for more information: (802) 457-3456.
East End Park depends on donations of time and money for its long-term success. If you love the park and want to help sustain it for generations to come, please donate. And check the Volunteer Opportunities page to see where you can add your time and talents. The East End Park depends on the community in order to remain a vibrant jewel in Woodstock.
Project Team Members