Francesca Segalas

Recent Articles

‘It Is Bedlam’: Town Officials Target Parking Congestion, Problems at Mead Park


Citing safety concerns and some motorists’ bad habits, officials say they’re weighing changes to how people park in two areas at Mead Park that see intense motor vehicle use at specific times. Motorists often park directly alongside the Apple Cart Food Co.-run Mead Park Lodge by the little league fields or physically on the traffic island there, according to Sally Campbell, chair of the Parks & Recreation Commission. Those entering Mead from Park Street drop into a parking situation that is confusing and haphazard, especially on “baseball nights,” Campbell said. “It is bedlam over there with the parking” on such nights, she said during the commission’s May 10 meeting, held at Lapham Community Center. “We talked to the baseball people when they were redoing the field and we said, ‘You really should look at the parking because it’s very congested over by the Apple Cart and with moms getting their kids out of the car and everything, it is really unsafe,’ ” Campbell said. Continue Reading →

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‘It’s Incredible’: Japanese Culture Enthusiasts Enjoy First-Ever Cherry Blossom Festival at Mead Park

Ashley Fippinger held both arms out straight where she stood under a canopy tent in the bustling colonnade area of Mead Park on Sunday afternoon, as a volunteer from the Japan Society of Fairfield County folded her into a deep red kimono robe and tied on an orange sash. The Bridgeport resident hadn’t planned on donning the formal Japanese garment here, but heard about the society’s first-ever “Sakura Matsuri,” or Cherry Blossom Festival, online, and “just had to see it for myself.”

“And it’s incredible,” Fippinger said as a traditional Japanese drumming group from UConn played to a nearby crowd, gathered on the grass on a cool, overcast day. Asked how she felt to be in a kimono, she said: “I feel like a princess.”

A steady stream of residents and park visitors attended the two-hour festival, approved last month by the Parks & Recreation Commission and marking the society’s 30th anniversary. Joined by town representatives including Parks & Rec Chair Sally Campbell and commissioner Francesca Segalas, Japan Society of Fairfield County President Mito Mardin welcomed festival-goers as well as a special guest, consul Ryusuke Shimada of the Consulate General of Japan in New York. Children and families moved from hands-on station to station, trying origami, bonsai, painting and ikebana flower arrangements as live entertainment including a martial arts performance, dancing and singing took place toward the rear of the colonnade. Continue Reading →

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Traditional Japanese ‘Cherry Blossom Festival’ Coming April 30 to Mead Park

Officials last week voted unanimously in favor of allowing an area organization dedicated to building knowledge and mutual understanding between Japanese and Americans to hold a “cherry blossom festival” next month at Mead Park. The Japan Society of Fairfield County’s traditional festival is to be held 1 to 4 p.m. on Sunday, April 30 following an 8-0 vote from the Parks & Recreation Commission. New Canaan resident and society board member Jackie Alexander said the cherry blossom festival—or “Sakura Matsuri”—is “a century-old Japanese tradition to celebrate spring when the cherry blossoms bloom.”

“It happens to be [the society’s] 30th anniversary, so we would like to do a Sakura Matsuri at Mead Park to share Japanese culture and open it to the public,” Alexander said at the meeting, held in Lapham Community Center. “It’s a family friendly event, with some music and some crafts.”

To include bonsai flower arranging and perhaps also a karate demonstration, the festival will be held in the colonnade, overlooking Mead Pond. The Japan Society of Fairfield County—founded in 1987 in Greenwich—also will donate a cherry tree to Mead Park, Alexander said, and is seeking a representative from the Consulate General of Japan in New York to attend a dedication ceremony. Continue Reading →

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Parks Officials Propose 2017 Waveny Pool Rates

Parks officials on Wednesday voted unanimously to recommend a new slate of fees for the popular Waveny Pool for the 2017 season. The proposed rates include modest increases for all types of passes at the self-sustaining facility, except for senior residents, who would pay $20 less. The pool was “very solid financially last summer,” Parks & Recreation Commission Chair Sally Campbell said during the group’s regular meeting at Lapham Community Center. “Our family passes went way up last year, which is why we decided not to raise the fees [by as much], because we thought it was just right,” Campbell said. Here’s a year-over-year breakdown of the new proposed rates. Continue Reading →

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Town Officials Look To Help Motorists Navigate Confusing Traffic Island in Mead Park

Town officials want to install some type of traffic control measure in Mead Park—signage or possibly painting the road—to help motorists navigate the hugely confusing island near the pond. A ‘Keep Right’ sign should be installed on the traffic island, and ‘Slow’ or ‘15 mph’ should be painted on the road through Mead, according to members of the Park & Recreation Commission subcommittee that helps oversee the popular spot. “I’m not sure what the traffic flow is supposed to be, and I’m pretty sure nobody else does, either,” commissioner Katie Owsley said during the group’s May 11 meeting, held at Lapham Community Center. Owsley said she observed numerous cars negotiating the traffic island differently during a recent visit. According to Recreation Director Steve Benko, Mead allowed for two-way traffic up until about 25 years ago, when the town made it one way. Continue Reading →

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