Helen Richards

Recent Articles

Selectmen Approve Pop Up Park for Abbreviated Summer Run

Saying the New Canaan Chamber of Commerce’s support is a key condition, the Board of Selectmen on Tuesday approved an abbreviated summer season for the Pop Up Park at South and Elm. Originally scheduled for a July 21 to Sept. 3 run, the makeshift park will operate Aug. 3 to 23 following a 3-0 vote by First Selectman Kevin Moynihan and Selectmen Kit Devereaux and Nick Williams to issue a Special Events permit. “I am skeptical,” Moynihan said, noting that in the past the Chamber appeared to drive the event with the assistance of a small volunteer committee, not vice versa. 

Moynihan also noted that the New Canaan’s local traffic authority, the Police Commission, must circle back to the Pop Up Park’s volunteers to give final approval for a road closure. Continue Reading →

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Merchants at Odds Over Now-Uncertain Pop Up Park

The recent news that the Chamber of Commerce is no longer sponsoring the Pop Up Park has left its future uncertain. While volunteer organizers are scrambling to obtain permits, insurance and town approval, a 2015 debate of how the park affects local business has been reignited. We spoke to several businesses in the area to hear their thoughts. Helen Richards of Odesmith & Richards Boutique on South Avenue describes the park as a “pleasant idea” but in the “completely wrong place.” Her concerns revolve around how the park affects nearby businesses, saying “it blocks traffic and impedes commerce where it is.”

She referred to a letter written by area merchants a few years ago. “The merchants have been complaining about it for a long time,” she said. 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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