The village of Waterbury was one of the communities hardest hit when Tropical Storm Irene pounded the state of Vermont in August of 2011. Swamped with eight inches of rain, the Winooski River, which parallels Main Street, overrode its banks and left much of the community under water, damaging or destroying 220 homes and businesses, as well as a state office complex that hosted 1500 workers in a variety of state agencies. In the years since, Waterbury has shown remarkable resilience and progress, renovating or rebuilding nearly all the damaged structures, but also going beyond that, by improving and expanding the town’s infrastructure and amenities, and seeking ways to continue fostering the strong community spirit that arose in the flood’s aftermath.
One such project was the creation of a fenced dog park, a safe location for the community’s canines to freely intermingle and socialize. The centerpiece of the park was to be a shade shelter, where the dog’s owners could congregate out of the sun or rain. Enter Yestermorrow. Working in partnership with the town’s community planner and recreation director, Yestermorrow instructor Josh Jackson designed a tasteful and beautiful post and beam structure, which was hand cut by the school’s May 2015 Timber Framing class, and raised at the site by the students. The park officially opened a few months later, almost four years to the day since the floods of Irene. The response has been dramatic, with many smiling faces and wagging tails. And just beyond the park fence, a literal stone’s throw away, the Winooski River flows calmly by, a constant reminder of both the power of water and the power of community.