Dear Friends of Walsh Park, March 14, 2017
On behalf of the Walsh Park Board, we want to thank you for the tremendous support over the past year. Your generosity continues to provide us with the resources necessary to make significant progress in pursuit of our mission to insure the future viability of the year-round community on Fishers Island.
The impact of our efforts is most profoundly demonstrated in the community involvement of our residents. Nearly 30% of the year-round population of Fishers Island lives in Walsh Park housing. Approximately 40% of the volunteers who comprise the Fishers Island Fire Department are also residents of Walsh Park properties. In addition, many other Walsh Park participants contribute their time and expertise to numerous Fishers Island organizations and causes.
2016 was a very active year for Walsh Park. Some highlights of our accomplishments include:
- We welcomed a new family of four, as well as three individuals, into the program.
- Invested over $200,000 in to our properties which were in dire need of repairs and maintenance.
- Completed another successful Walsh Park Open and our second annual solicitation, with extensive and increased participation from the community. Thank you!
- Made significant progress in building our relationships with both the Town of Southold and other Island organizations to together focus on attracting new families to Fishers Island.
- Notably, for the first time in nearly 8 years, the Fishers Island School has more local students than CT commuter students. This simply wouldn’t be possible without those students from Walsh Park families.
Despite our efforts the problem we are seeking to address remains acute. All Walsh Park inventory is currently fully occupied. Every one of our 28 single-family homes and apartments are full and we also have a significant waiting list of qualified applicants (individuals and families) who are enthusiastic about living on Fishers Island. Demand for affordable year-round housing continues to exceed supply.
Moving forward, we simply must pursue other options beyond the traditional method of Walsh Park purchasing existing properties to add to our inventory. In order to have a broader impact on the availability of such housing, we need to proactively develop additional housing units. To that end, Walsh Park is currently collaborating with other Fishers Island institutions on several opportunities which would create additional affordable housing options for year-round residents.
As many of you may recall, Matt Edwards joined us early in 2016 as our first-ever Program Manager. One of his principal goals is to work with Island organizations, the ICB and Southold in our pursuit of future development projects. Matt has also been integrating himself into the Fishers Island community, helping to coach the boy’s basketball team at the school, as well as joining the Fishers Island Churches Golf Classic committee. He will also be joining the fire department as soon as he and his wife Mary officially become Fishers Island residents this spring.
Once again, we’d like to sincerely thank everyone for your generosity and commitment to Walsh Park. We feel we serve a vital need on Fishers Island and we would not be able to accomplish our mission without your continued support.
Please do not hesitate to reach out to us with any questions, feedback or suggestions. Our Co-Presidents, Ned Carlson and Andrew Burr, can be reached at email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org, respectively, while our Program Manager Matt Edwards can be reached at email@example.com.
Thank you very much for your continued support!
Ned Carlson & Andrew Burr
Walsh Park Benevolent Corporation