Betsy Wilson

Recent Articles

Future of ‘Pop Up Park’ Uncertain After Some Merchants Voice Concerns

After a handful of merchants voiced concerns about how the Pop Up Park at South Avenue and Elm Street affects traffic and business, members of the municipal body that oversees street closures in New Canaan said Wednesday night that they’ll take the feedback into consideration in deciding on the future of the downtown amenity. No immediate decision is needed regarding the Pop Up Park, which saw part of the South Avenue’s first block cordoned off as a pedestrian-only space—with tables, chairs, WiFi, planters, grass, fountain and events—from the July 15 Sidewalk Sale to Labor Day. However, approval from the Police Commission is needed each “offseason” to get the volunteer-run Pop Up Park in place. Launched five years ago, the town had approved an all-summer run in 2015, but the Pop Up Park didn’t run at all that year after some merchants raised concerns. During the commission’s regular meeting Wednesday, some of those who long have said the park creates problems that hurt the downtown and its businesses reiterated their concerns. Continue Reading →

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‘Pop Up Park’ Organizers Eye Extended Summer Season Downtown

The organizers of New Canaan’s ‘Pop Up Park’ downtown will seek permission to run it continuously from July 16 to Sept. 4. If approved by the Police Commission, the dates—from just after the Sidewalk Sale through Labor Day—would expand by several weeks the longest continuous run for the Pop Up Park, which was in place for three straight weeks last August. Tucker Murphy, an advisor to the Pop Up Park Steering Committee from the New Canaan Chamber of Commerce, said many visitors were disappointed last year when the park—located on South Avenue between Morse Court and Elm Street—was disassembled before what turned out to be a beautiful Labor Day weekend. The committee is “trying to build upon last year while still recognizing that some of the merchants and some people have concerns about traffic flow,” Murphy said. Continue Reading →

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Pop Up Park Creators Eye Summer 2016 Re-Launch

Though they stopped short of specifying just where the Pop Up Park would be located in the future—a major sticking point for a group of downtown merchants who oppose it—those who created and for three summers operated the makeshift plaza on the final block of South Avenue said Wednesday night that they plan to launch it again next summer. There will be no Pop Up Park in 2015, despite an online petition and many New Canaanites on social and local media platforms calling for its return, Betsy Wilson, a Realtor who serves on the Pop Up Park Committee, told the Police Commission. “Our goal by early 2016 is to have approval for next summer,” Wilson told the commission at its meeting, held in the Training Room at the New Canaan Police Department. “It’s not going to be open [in 2015]. What we are going to do is continue to organize.”

That means inviting all stakeholders to help forge a workable site and operational plan, Wilson said, as well as defining committee members’ roles, developing liaisons to emergency response agencies, launching a website, branding the Pop Up Park with a formal logo and securing funding through a GoFundMe campaign, Wilson said. Continue Reading →

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Approved: Pop Up Park Downtown To Remain in Place from End of School through Labor Day

On the condition that additional details are presented within the next few weeks, officials on Wednesday unanimously approved a proposal to keep the Pop Up Park downtown in place through the summer. Overseen by a volunteer committee since it launched on a test basis three years ago, the Pop Up Park on the last block of South Avenue will run for three straight weekends starting May 30, then remain in place from the end of school (June 19) to Labor Day (Sept. 7), following a 3-0 vote by the Police Commission. Commissioners called the Pop Up Park a successful and well-run effort whose next logical step—and for the volunteers who have spent time and effort setting it up and breaking it down every weekend these past two summers, only viable step—is to try it on a semi-permanent basis. “I have not heard really much grumbling at all,” Commission Chairman Stuart Sawabini said at the group’s regular monthly meeting, held in the Training Room at the New Canaan Police Department. Continue Reading →

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