WATERVILLE — Supporters of the Quarry Road Recreation Area are in the home stretch of trying to raise $2 million that will fund completion of the basic infrastructure at the four-season site off North Street.

Backers of the 200-acre recreation area say $100,000 is left to raise for the upgrade’s first phase, and they are hoping for the public’s help.

The Harold Alfond Foundation gave the recreation area a challenge grant of $285,000, and Friends of Quarry Road had to raise a $202,000 match, according to John Koons, a founder of the recreation area and member of the board of directors for Friends of Quarry Road, a nonprofit organization that supports the site.

“We’ve raised over $100,000 (for the match),” he said.

The recreation area, which has 6 miles of trails, is owned by the city and managed by the city’s Parks and Recreation Department. It is open for use by the public free of charge.

Foundations, institutions and private donors have ponied up the bulk of the money needed for the first phase of development, the site infrastructure phase, and officials are hoping individuals will pitch in to help with the final $100,000.


Projects to be completed in this phase include electrical service, lighting, security, finishing a warming/gathering yurt, additional work on the maintenance building, trail enhancement, snow-making upgrades, additional grooming equipment and improvements to the entry road and parking areas.

The recreation area offers hiking, bicycling, walking, running, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, canoeing, kayaking and events such as dog sled competitions, the annual Colby College Carnival and the Bill Koch Festival, which draws more than 400 people from all over New England for cross-country skiing events for children ages 6 to 12.

Friends of Quarry Road president Rick Tonge said typically fundraising efforts for such projects include raising 80 percent from individuals and 20 percent from foundations, but in the case of Quarry Road it is the reverse, with large funding amounts coming from the Alfond Foundation, Colby College, the city of Waterville and others.

“They want the individuals to step up and say, ‘Yes, we want it, too,’ because the institutions have stepped up beautifully,” Tonge said.

He and Koons said the deadline for raising the $100,000 is the end of May, but they hope for an extension.

Koons, former president of Friends of Quarry Road, and city Parks and Recreation Director Matt Skehan said the snow-making equipment at the site is state-of-the-art — similar to the equipment at the Sugarloaf ski resort.


“The idea for the system is, it’s been designed to make a lot of snow very quickly, without a lot of labor,” Skehan said.

Koons, Tonge and Skehan estimate the site probably is operating at 25 percent of its potential now and is still in its infancy. They say possibilities include adding snow tubing at the site, as well as transportation, frisbee/golf, petanque — a game in where players roll or throw balls toward a target — skating and possibly downhill skiing.

Koons calls the area an economic development magnet that “enhances the livability of central Maine — I don’t think there’s any question about that.”

The recreation area abuts Messalonskee Stream and includes forest, a meadow and a hill inhabited by deer, foxes, turtles, bald eagles, owls and lots of other birds.

Tonge said that the ultimate goal is to have the site become self-sustaining and funded by user fees.

“It’s a revenue-neutral place, but we’ve got to build it,” he said.


He said Friends of Quarry Road members have put about $80,000 into the project over the last four years.

“The board has been very generous, and they’ve given their time and their money to get us where we are,” he said.

Amy Calder — 861-9247

[email protected]

Twitter: @AmyCalder17

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.