Welcome to Laurel Park! Founded in 1872 as a Methodist summer camp, Laurel Park had its heyday as a center for religious revivals and cultural festivals, with attendance in the thousands. Over the years, cottages were built and gradually winterized as people started to live here year round.
In 1986 Homeowners At Laurel Park (HALP) was established, and the cottages were technically converted to condominiums. There are now over 100 cottages on 29 acres of land. With its eclectic, quirky cottages and mix of residents, it is a self-governing neighborhood with the lingering flavor of a summer camp retreat.
Homeowners have an annual meeting where they approve the budget for the upcoming year, make any needed changes to the bylaws, and elect fellow homeowners to oversee the management of day-to-day affairs. The groundskeeping and administrative tasks are done by the property management company Pancione Associates of Easthampton.
When you buy a Laurel Park cottage, you own the building and the land under its footprint. You also own a share of the grounds, and of several common buildings. There is a Dining Hall used by residents as a summertime gathering place for potluck dinners, and as sheltered play space. In the winter it is used to store boats and bicycles.
At the main entrance stands Normal Hall, a meeting house with kitchen that is used for Laurel Park meetings and social gatherings, and can be rented for private events. The Laurel Park Association (LPA) is a resident non profit organization that uses Normal Hall and the Tabernacle for educational, cultural, and religious programs.
Offsetting the closely spaced cottages there are a number of open areas within Laurel Park. By the Dining Hall is a playground and enough space for croquet, badminton, or throwing a ball or frisbee. There are several small, lovingly tended parks with benches tucked away among the cottages.
On the north border, LPA owns woods that buffer the Park. A loop trail runs through this “Nine Acre Woods”, used by residents for exercise and walking dogs. And just across Coles Meadow Road is a path leading to the Fitzgerald Lake conservation area, a large woodland owned by the City of Northampton and managed by the Broad Brook Coalition.