BACG reaches out to the City of Burlington - 1987

 BACG History Post #59

Burlington Area Community Gardens existed as an independent nonprofit organization from 1983 through 1986. When funds ran out at the end of the 1986 season, the BACG board of directors reached out to the City of Burlington for help.

Board member Ike Isley was a physical trainer at the University of Vermont. He grew up on a 400-acre farm in North Dakota and was active civically in Burlington. Isley contacted Sid Baker, Superintendent of the Burlington Parks and Recreation Department. 

Baker's appointment as Superintendent of the Burlington Parks Department was announced in December, 1966. He previously worked as a reporter for WCAX television, covering the Burlington City Hall beat. Baker studied forestry at the University of Vermont.  

Baker was 29 when he became superintendent in 1967. He was a visionary leader who doubled the size of the Burlington Parks system, including the acquisition of Oakledge Park in 1971. A year later, Burlington Parks partnered with the nonprofit Gardens for All to establish the Cliffside Community Garden at Oakledge Park.

In 1973, a year-round recreation program was established under the management of the Burlington Parks Department. Leddy arena was built in 1974. A city charter change in 1975 created the Burlington Parks and Recreation Department. Urban forestry, which Baker had championed, also became part of the expanded city department. 

Ray Tanguay was hired in 1973 as the City's director of recreational services. He had a degree in recreational services from the University of Connecticut. Tanguay was a champion of providing a wide range of lifelong recreational activities for people of all ages and abilities. He saw a shift toward a neighborhood emphasis as "the wave of the recreational future."