Irwin Park

Recent Articles

New Canaan Woman Proposes Bocce Courts for Irwin Park, Seeks To Convince Garden Club

About one year after a similar citizen-led effort at Mead Park stalled for lack of funds, a New Canaan woman on Wednesday night proposed to town officials that bocce courts be installed at Irwin. Liz Orteig told members of the Parks & Recreation Commission at their regular meeting that creating a place for the popular game would speak to New Canaan’s significant Italian heritage and that those opposed to the concept may be won over by a unique design. “I have actually talked to some of the Garden Club ladies—they seem very resistant to the idea,” Orteig said at the meeting, held in Lapham Community Center. “I would like a bocce court and I also thought that I could possibly get the Garden Club ladies on board by proposing that they design something very, very unique and special because they are really into the landscape and if we make a real feature out of it, they may be able to be persuaded. That is my whole contention. Continue Reading →

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‘Enjoy the Fruits of New Canaan’: High Marks for New Sidewalk Connecting Elm Street to Irwin Park (That Sign, Though)

New Canaan residents say they’re pleased with the town’s efforts and believe that it is an improvement over the narrow grass verge that had paralleled Weed Street in terms of aesthetics, use and safety. New Canaan resident Kristin Redaelli, while pushing her child in a stroller on Wednesday morning, said that the sidewalk is a major improvement. “It’s very convenient, safe for kids, and great to get to town now,” she said. “[On the grass], it was harder to push a stroller. Often times, I would have to jump on the road, and then I was a little nervous with the cars because they were going pretty fast.”

Kelly Leather, who was walking her dog, said that the sidewalk allows her to feel safer. Continue Reading →

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‘It Finally Feels Like Summer’: Locals Head to Downtown, Parks As Temps Soar into 70s

Olive Gallagher, a West School third-grader, on Monday afternoon joined her friends Phoebe Mellick, a West School second-grader, and Morgan Tusa, an East School third-grader, on the bench outside of Baskin-Robbins on Main Street. The trio had spent part of the morning at a beach in Westport, where they participated in a photo shoot on the fabulous Beachmate system (a local family’s invention), and then came back to sun-dappled New Canaan for their cool treat. “This is one of my favorite spots,” Phoebe told NewCanaanite.com before going back to her Icing On the Cake-flavored ice cream cone. “We’re just enjoying the weather.” (Olive also got Icing On the Cake—asked what flavor she had, Morgan answered, “I have no idea.”)

As temperatures climbed into the 70s in New Canaan—and less than one month after a winter storm dumped about a foot of snow here—locals enjoying April break at home headed into town and out to the public parks to relax and reconnect with nature and each other. “Everyone comes out of the woodwork and enjoys the beautiful day—it finally feels like summer is here,” New Canaan’s Andrea Reid said from a favorite family spot, Irwin Park, where she joined a friend and watched over her kids, 5-year-old Asher, a New Canaan Community Preschooler, and Morgan, 2, who attends the preschool at United Methodist Church (the writer’s alma mater). Continue Reading →

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Garden Club Wants To Use Irwin Park (Including Barn) for May Flower Sale, Officials Report

One of New Canaan’s longest-serving nonprofits is planning a spring flower sale at Irwin Park, though just where on the Weed Street property the organization will be able to hold the event is an open question, town officials said Wednesday. The New Canaan Garden Club would like to “open the barn up” at Irwin for the planned May 20 sale “and sell the flowers in the barn and people who are in and out from [youth] baseball could come in the afternoon,” Parks & Recreation Commission Chair Sally Campbell said during the group’s regular monthly meeting, held in Lapham Community Center. “But I think there is going to be a challenge with the barn, because it is not safe at this point.”

The comments came during an update from Campbell on special events planned for New Canaan parks. Recreation Director Steve Benko said that in speaking directly to Judy Neville—a member of the Garden Club’s Irwin Park Committee—he flagged other logistical problems for the Saturday planned for the flower sale. “I explained to Judy that with baseball’s zoning permit, they cannot even start until 9 o’clock in the morning, so that means they won’t start their first games until 9:30 and when you get baseball there you talk about getting 60 cars for the first set of games and another 60 cars for the second set of games, and she was all about having an ice cream truck and food truck to keep the parents there to buy plants, and my problem is if we don’t turn over cars every 45 minutes.”

If the event were to start a bit later—closer to midday, and run to about 4 p.m., Benko said—then “that may be OK because baseball is probably done around 12 p.m.”

Campbell asked Benko whether permits are needed for food trucks to operate in the public parks. Continue Reading →

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‘The Town Needs To Invest a Little More’: Officials Call for More Funds to Maintain Public Parks’ Grounds

More maintenance is needed in New Canaan’s parks, particularly in landscaping the areas immediately around public buildings, and the officials in charge of them say they’ll seek more money in the upcoming budget season to care properly for the cherished properties. The Parks Department doesn’t have the funds needed “to adequately maintain the parks,” Sally Campbell, chairman of the Park & Recreation Commission, told members of the Town Council at their Nov. 16 meeting. “I just still can’t believe the conditions of the landscaping around our town buildings and around our beautiful town assets,” Campbell said at the meeting, held in Town Hall. “And we are fortunate that [Parks Superintendent] John Howe does an amazing job maintaining the athletic fields and maintaining our baseball diamonds—and those are kind of easier to maintain—but to maintain the landscaping around Lapham [Community Center], or in Irwin Park where the weeds are just all over the place or the town buildings, we just need more money.”

The comments came during a pre-budget season review of parks and recreation before the Town Council, the final funding body to sign off on New Canaan’s spending plan each year. Continue Reading →

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