Betsy Wilson

Recent Articles

‘Pop Up Park’ Under Threat As Organizers Scramble for Insurance, Town Approval

The Police Commission voted unanimously Wednesday night to require the organizers of the Pup Up Park to return next month with proof of insurance and coordination with the town in order to retain a planned six-week road closure needed to operate the makeshift gathering space. In the past, officials noted during the Commission’s regular meeting, the New Canaan Chamber of Commerce had provided insurance and also coordinated with the town, though a separate, small group of volunteers oversaw the actual day-to-day operation of the summer park at South and Elm. Yet “the sponsoring organization obviously has withdrawn from the entire concept,” Commission Chairman Sperry DeCew said at the group’s regular meeting, held at the New Canaan Police Department. “So at this point, we have a group of five well-meaning citizens who want to have a Pop Up Park, but at this point there is no appointed liaison to the town of New Canaan. So far as we know, there is no approval by the town of New Canaan on the special permit level, and there is certainly no insurance. Continue Reading →

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Citing Past Concerns, Town Approves July 21 to Labor Day Season for Pop Up Park

Saying an originally requested two-month run was too long given opposition from some merchants and residents, New Canaan’s traffic authority on Tuesday night unanimously approved a July 21 to Labor Day (Sept. 3) summer season for the Pop Up Park at South and Elm downtown. Police Commissioner Paul Foley said that although he personally likes the Pop Up Park, a 9-week season starting July 4—what was formally proposed by the volunteer committee that runs it—would be “excessive” given the “outspoken” concerns of some business owners. “I like the concept of the park, I think it’s been fairly successful,” Foley said at the commission’s regular meeting, held in the New Canaan Police Department. “I just think closing it for two months is a bit excessive for everybody else who uses Elm Street and South Avenue. Continue Reading →

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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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