WATERVILLE — Collaboration among community groups has been the key to success at the Quarry Road Recreation Area, where addition of extended cross-country ski trails, snow making and a welcome yurt in recent years have been integral to the park’s growth, according to organizers involved with the project.

The many efforts by the city of Waterville, nonprofit group Friends of Quarry Road and others have earned the recreation area the Mid-Maine Chamber of Commerce Community Service Project of the Year Award for 2015.

The area and the groups involved in its success will be recognized by the chamber April 28 at its annual awards ceremony.

“This once overgrown corner of Waterville is now a year-round hub of recreation activity, a catalyst for the local economy and a boon to the health and wellness of the local community,” said Christian Savage, Mid-Maine Chamber of Commerce program director.

Quarry Road is run as a partnership between the city and Friends of Quarry Road, but representatives from both said making the ski and recreation area successful really has been a community effort.

The area has been a winter sports hub for Waterville since 1938, and it was expanded by Colby College to include snow making, night skiing and a small ski lift in 1960. In the mid-1970s, ski operations ceased amid an energy crisis and the 100-acre property sat vacant for 30 years until it the city bought it in 2006.

The city redeveloped the cross-country ski trails with the help of local volunteers, eventually expanding the park to 220 acres, including 5.6 miles of groomed trails, 2.2 miles of snowshoe trails and a sledding hill.

Snow-making machinery was reinstalled in 2012 and has contributed to the success of the area over the last few years, according to Waterville Parks and Recreation Director Matt Skehan. The Central Maine Ski Club also has contributed to attracting events and skiers to the area.

“The success of the ski season has been really notable for Quarry Road,” Skehan said. “It’s helped sustain the area and keep it going — and not just for the recreation area, but for the whole town. Hotels are filling up. It’s nice to hear people at different meetings and gatherings say, ‘We’re so glad Quarry Road is there because in the winter, when things are typically slow, things are bustling.'”

Organizers now are putting a focus on making Quarry Road a resource for all seasons, said Skehan and Friends of Quarry Road President Caroline Mathes.

“The effort to make it a four-season project is always on our minds,” Mathes said. “We want to promote hiking, walking and running. We’re also doing a large focus on mountain biking this next year.”

This spring there are plans to install a new kayak launch on Messalonskee Stream as well as further develop running and bicycling races and events.

The Quarry Road Summer Race Series has offered different terrain running races over the summer since 2013 and there also have been discussions about bringing an obstacle course race, Skehan said.

The kayak launch is planned to compliment the North Street kayak launch and “hopefully help grow that sport and make it more accessible,” he said. An exact location for it hasn’t yet been determined.

There are also parking lot, road and lighting developments that both groups are planning with a 2014 grant from the Harold Alfond Foundation and matching funds raised by the groups.

“It’s not just the Friends of Quarry Road (that have been responsible for the area’s success),” Mathes said. “It’s Inland Hospital and MaineGeneral, just a whole slew of people in central Maine that have helped us and gotten involved with it. It’s really growing as a community effort, which is why I think it’s deserving of the Community Service Project of the Year Award.”

Rachel Ohm — 612-2368

[email protected]

Twitter: @rachel_ohm

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