The Legacy Campaign
“150 Years and Beyond”
Frequently Asked Questions
Q – What is Roseland Park and Golf Course, and where did it come from?
A – Roseland Park and golf course is a tract of 203 acres of land, located in South Woodstock, CT. The park was the brainchild of Henry Chandler Bowen, Woodstock’s native son and its greatest benefactor. The park opened in 1876, while the nine-hole golf course was added twenty years later, and is among the oldest courses in the United States. The park is located along the shores of Roseland Lake and offers a wide variety of activities including; walking, playgrounds, fishing, boating, sledding, skating, golf, basketball, camping, yoga, concerts, poetry and many other special events. The park has also hosted the Woodstock Little League (free of charge) since 1957.
Q – What is The Legacy Campaign - “150 Years and Beyond” ?
A – It is a capital funds drive to benefit Roseland Park and Golf Course. The drive encompasses Woodstock and all of the towns in northeast Connecticut as well as surrounding towns in Massachusetts and Rhode Island.
Q – What is the goal of The Legacy Campaign?
A – The goal is to raise a minimum of $500,000 in gifts and pledges over a three-year period.
Q – Doesn’t the park have a significant trust fund?
A – No. This is a common misconception. Henry Bowen left $10,000 for park maintenance at the time of his death. Other family members also made contributions, but 147 years, including two world wars, the great depression, and natural disasters such as the hurricane of 1938 have wiped out those assets.
Q – What will the funds be used for?
A – Funds raised in The Legacy Campaign will be used for improvements to the park and golf course. The major improvements include the creation of a new park entrance and revised traffic pattern to increase safety and improve access to park amenities. Extensive tree and brush removal and planting to cull mature and diseased trees that are near end of life, open up views of the lake and allow for planting of the next generation of greenery. Construction of an equipment storage and maintenance facility to protect and store equipment used to maintain the park and golf course. Upgrades to playscapes, the boathouse, and the addition of restrooms in the barn.
Q – Who is deciding on what the improvements should be?
A – The trustees have developed a strategic plan, and as part of that plan have hired Groundview Design of Boston, MA to develop options for improving the park and golf course for the long term. The trustees will make the ultimate decision based on multiple designs provided by the architectural firm. Groundview is owned by Wilson Martin, a former Woodstock resident (born and raised) with a strong interest in the park and golf course.
Q – Why is the project important at this time?
A – The park has not seen improvements of this magnitude for many years, but use of the park, and the activities offered continue to increase. It is important for our community that the park is brought up to 21st century standards for the benefit of all who use the facilities.
Q – Why should Roseland Park and Golf Course matter to me?
A – The park and golf course are unique in that they serve the entire northeast CT community, with some 65,000 residents living within 10 miles of the park and golf course. More importantly, the park is open to all, free of charge, 365 days a year, while the golf course offers the lowest golf rates in the area. Neither the Town of Woodstock or any of the other local governments whose residents use the park extensively provide financial support to the park or golf course. The Legacy campaign is vital to protecting this unique asset for future generations.
Q – If I give money for improvements now, will the park be able to maintain them, or will you ask for more money a few years from now?
A – The Trust produces annual income from renting out park facilities for private events from time to time, and from golf operations revenue. The Trust will also launch a “Friends of Roseland Park” membership community at the close of The Legacy Campaign. The revenues produced from those undertakings will allow the Trust to sustain itself. In addition, the local community has always been appreciative of and generous to the park. We expect unsolicited donations to continue as they always have.
Q – Was the park given to the Town of Woodstock?
A – NO!! When the park opened in 1876, it was given by Henry Bowen to a trust comprised of his children living at the time. He asked them to maintain it for their own enjoyment as well as that of area residents. The tract of land containing the golf course was added to the trust in 1919.
Q – Are any members of the Bowen family still Trustees?
A – No. All of Henry’s children and grandchildren are now deceased. The Deed of Trust was amended in 1985 to allow for the inclusion of non-family members as trustees. Extended family members do still have an interest in the park and golf course and are supporting the Legacy Campaign.
Q – Who actually owns the park and golf course today?
A – The facilities are owned by the Trustees of Roseland Park, the legacy of the Bowen family trust established in 1876. There are 15 trustees, local residents who have demonstrated strong interest in stewardship of the assets. The trustees receive no compensation, and in fact are expected to make philanthropic donations of their own to the park.
Q – When will the work funded by the capital campaign begin?
A – The first noticeable step, the removal of mature trees, undergrowth, and invasive species in the park and on the golf course, will begin in the winter of 2023/24 and extend into the spring. Site preparation for the maintenance facility will begin around the same time. Construction of the new entrance and paving of roadways is tentatively scheduled for November of 2024. All efforts are being made to schedule the work in a manner that least impacts the busy Late Spring/Summer/Early Fall seasons when park usage is highest.
Q – Who is running the Legacy Campaign?
A – The Board of Trustees is directly overseeing the campaign. They are working with a group of volunteers from the area who comprise the Leadership team for the campaign. John Rauh, a trustee, is the general chairperson for the campaign, while Paul Kelly is serving as honorary chairperson.
Q – Who is supporting The Legacy Campaign “150 Years and Beyond”?
A – The Board of Trustees, the Capital Campaign Leadership Team, area individuals, businesses, organizations, and generous individuals with a connection to the park are stepping forward to make the campaign a success.
Q – How can I help to make the Legacy Campaign successful?
A- When a volunteer contacts you ask questions and find out for yourself the importance of this project to you and the community. Tell your circle of friends and associates about the Legacy Campaign “150 Years and Beyond”. And if you’d like to help, there is a place for everyone.
Q – May I name something at the Park or Golf Course?
A – Yes! There will be ample options for naming in honor or in memory of anyone you choose. A list of naming opportunities is currently being assembled.
The Trustees of Roseland Park and the Park Manager are always looking for ways to improve the park and facilities. Here are some of our upcoming projects.