The Greenfield Beat: Jesseca Timmons – Exciting changes at Crotched Mountain 

Jesseca Timmons

Jesseca Timmons COURTESY PHOTO

Published: 09-07-2023 9:00 AM

On Sept. 16 and 17, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Oak Park, the Greenfield Drawbar and Harness Club is hosting its 36th annual tractor show. Admission is free. The tractor show is the perfect family outing for anyone who loves tractors, engines, antique cars, trucks and machinery, lunger engines, carts and harnesses and more!

The show includes food, raffles, vendors, a flea market and animal exhibits. If you are interested in exhibiting, please contact Dorene Adams at greenfieldtractorclub@gmail.com.

The Friends of the Meetinghouse are selling Oktoberfest tickets online at greenfieldmeetinghouse.org and at the Sunday farmers’ and crafters’ market at Oak Park. Where else can you get a home-cooked meal, two craft beers, a beer glass to take home and awesome local music – all for $25? Save $5 and buy ahead of time; tickets are $30 at the door. Oktoberfest is a fundraiser for the Greenfield Meetinghouse.

Last spring, I stopped by the Crotched Mountain School campus and was pleasantly surprised to run into Geoff Garfinkle, the former director of the CMARS adaptive skiing program, who is now an assistant vice president for Seven Hills New Hampshire, the new owner of the Crotched campus.

Garfinkle introduced me to Deborah Tighe, director of development, who is thrilled to be part of the team leading Seven Hills’ rehabilitation of the Crotched campus. Seven Hills, a $400 million nonprofit with 14 affiliate organizations managing 200 sites providing services for developmental disabilities across New England, has renamed the Greenfield campus Seven Hills New Hampshire.

“It’s a little confusing, because the Crotched Mountain Foundation is still providing services at different sites in New Hampshire – just not at this campus,” Tighe explained. “But we think people will come to recognize the Seven Hills name.”

Seven Hills purchased the school and hospital campus from Gersh Autism, which had acquired the campus from the Crotched Mountain Foundation in 2020. Longtime Greenfield residents and many former employers of Crotched were delighted to hear that Seven Hills had taken over the Crotched campus, not only because Seven Hills is a highly successful organization, but also because the acquisition was spearheaded by David Jordan, who was CEO of the Crotched Mountain Foundation in the 1980s and 1990s before going on to lead Seven Hills.

Tighe told me about Seven Hills’ ongoing plans to restore the campus, which is in need of significant upgrades and renovations.

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“We’re continuing a long tradition here at the Crotched Mountain campus, providing the best care for children with specific needs and disabilities,” Tighe said. “Our only problem is we can’t reopen fast enough for all the families who need help. We currently have 225 children on our waiting list, but we have a lot to get done before we can start building our residential population.”

While the Crotched Mountain School has remained open throughout transitions in ownership, enabling residential students to maintain continuity of care, a few buildings on the large campus have not been used for several years. One building, Hemlock, formerly a day care center, is in such disrepair that the Greenfield Fire Department, along with other towns, is going to destroy the building with a controlled burn on Sept. 24. Fire fans, mark your calendars!

Seven Hills Foundation is planning to invest $25 million into the Crotched campus over the next few years, bringing the facilities back to peak condition. The Crotched campus is well-known locally for the Olympic-size swimming pool, which used to be open to the community. Tighe is happy to report that Seven Hills has made reopening the pool a priority, with repairs scheduled to be complete by the end of September.

Seven Hills is also investing in staff housing and facilities for students, including for art, music, recreation, physical education and gardening, physical and occupational therapy facilities and medical care facilities.

As with any organization, Seven Hills relies on good people. Seven Hills is currently offering a $2,000 signing bonus for new employees. Please check their website, sevenhills.org, or the classifieds in the Monadnock Ledger-Transcript for information.