Cambridge VT Community Center


Where is the project located?

The project is in historic downtown Jeffersonville, VT, which is in the wider Town of Cambridge. The property is situated on 7.4 acres of open land, with the Brewster River bordering its eastern edge.

There are two buildings on the property: the field house (+ annex) and a smaller building that used to be the tennis camp’s dormitory.

What will be offered to the community?

Plans for the fieldhouse include a variety of indoor sport offerings (soccer, tennis, lacrosse, basketball, volleyball, baseball, climbing walls, etc.), as well as a fitness gym and a healthy-foods café. Spaces for dance, gymnastics, yoga, and playgroups will be made available as well.

The field house will also be used for visual and performing arts displays and events, tradeshows, and other affairs and exhibitions.

What about the smaller building?

The “dorm” will be updated once the annex and field house are complete.  Stay tuned for future plans for the building.

What are the plans for the outdoor property?

There will be playing fields, tennis courts, a walking/biking/jogging path, skate park, ice rink, and community garden. In time, there may also be camping and other enhanced opportunities along the river.

Who will be using the community center?

This project has something for everyone, from pre-school children to teenagers to active adults to senior citizens. It aims to improve the quality of life of both local residents and tourists by providing recreational and cultural activities, health and wellness resources, and opportunities for social interaction and lifelong education.

We can’t be all things to all people, but we can be many things to many people in our town and in the surrounding communities.

Who owns the property and how and why did they buy it?

Two local residents, John Dunn, MD, and Russ Weis, a Johnson State College teacher, formed a limited liability company (LLC) to purchase the property in order to keep it from deteriorating further or from being sold and potentially converted to industrial purposes.

Their main interest is to develop the property into an attractive, affordable and thriving recreational, educational, and cultural center for community and county residents and for area visitors of all ages.

What are the owners’ short- and longer-term plans?

A number of necessary permits have been and are being obtained in order to renovate the buildings to accomplish the project’s purposes. The owners are maintaining and improving the property while they secure the necessary financing to move ahead with the renovations via a combination of loans, grants, tax incentives, and private and in-kind investments and donations. They are confident that this public-private partnership process will yield long-lasting success, and are not opposed to eventually transferring ownership to a nonprofit or to the community-at-large, given sufficient interest.

Can you further explain the fiscal sponsorship agreement?

Sure. These sorts of partnerships have seen great success with projects of this nature. Opportunities for grants, loans, and donations can be more effectively leveraged if, as in this case, private ownership is willing to forego potential profit in order to assure both the longer-term viability and the most widespread appeal of the venture. By combining the stability, breadth, and integrity of local nonprofits and municipal stakeholders with the more agile aspects of a private corporation, (e.g., the ability to make decisions and act more quickly), the needs and desires of the greatest number of people can be incorporated and actualized.

After all, to be a true community center, all members of the community deserve to have a say, as well as a piece of the pie.

Here’s one way such a project can work:

  • Grants (non-profit partners, CDBG, etc.)
  • Loans (Bank, VEDA, NEFCU, 504, Individuals)
  • Donations & Fundraising (via non-profit fiscal sponsorship agreement)
  • In-Kind Donations (local & state businesses and individuals)
  • Pre-Sold Memberships (CSCC model: lifetime & annual)
  • Tax Credits (DVC Historic, etc.)

How can you keep a project like this afloat in a floodplain?

We are adhering to all stipulations made by the Jeffersonville Board of Adjustment, which issued us a permit to proceed with our plans. The floor of the field house has been raised to 2 feet above the 100-year flood level and in fact that building’s interior has never flooded out.

Nevertheless, we will be undertaking a variety of flood proofing measures to the field house, in addition to raising the dorm’s ground floor by one foot, all while not altering the architectural footprint of either building. We are confident that both buildings, as well as the grounds, will be able to withstand any major future flooding events.

What can I do to help?

We thought you’d never ask! Right now, we have needs in the following areas:

  • Volunteer for community work parties (Click here for more info)
  • Volunteer at Cambridge 360 store
  • Help us with grant writing
  • Become a corporate sponsor
  • And there’s always room for investment:

Join as a partner in our LLC

Become a lifetime and/or founding member of the CCC

Purchase an annual or multi-year CCC membership

Make a loan, bequest or donation

Gift Appreciated Stock

Please contact us for further information. We’d love to welcome you to the team!