Jeff Holland

Recent Articles

‘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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Police Commission Weighs Request from St. A’s for Handicapped Parking Designation on Maple Street

Town officials are weighing a request from St. Aloysius Church to designate one or two parking spaces along Maple Street as handicapped for use by those using its main office. Monsignor William Scheyd told members of the Police Commission at their most recent meeting that the request—unconnected to the ongoing Merritt Village application across the street—is designed to serve those coming and going from Stapleton Hall, the prominent brick structure that starts near the corner of Maple at South Avenue. For many of the older motorists seeking to enter the office, Scheyd said, it’s similar to finding a parking spot on Forest Street when headed out to a restaurant there. “I used to take a friend of mine out, who would say, ‘Now say a quick prayer that there is a parking space—more often than not, it worked,’ ” he said during the Sept. Continue Reading →

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Officials OK New Temporary Loading Zones Downtown While ‘Pop Up Park’ Operates Aug. 5 to 28

The volunteer group that oversees on-street parking in New Canaan voted unanimously last week to designate two areas for commercial truck drivers to pull up and unload for the three weeks in August that the Pop Up Park will occupy their loading zone on the final block of South Avenue. The park is to be set up on South between Morse Court and Elm Street from Aug. 5 to 28, following approval from the Police Commission in December. Its organizers say it will feature new furniture and umbrellas. Two years ago, the Pop Up Park Committee placed the loading zone just beyond the park on Elm Street but “that wasn’t safe for pedestrians because of the two crosswalks there,” committee member Jeff Holland told the Police Commission at its July 20 meeting. Continue Reading →

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Letter from Organizers: ‘We Certainly Hope the Pop Up Park Can Return’

As the Pop Up Park committee we have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support from New Canaan residents and visitors. It is a testament to our town that even in this time of cyber communication that we still cherish a space where we can meet, shop and enjoy our summer months together, young and old, as a community. However, we recognize that we must respect the wishes of our merchant community as well. Although we feel as if we included them in the decision-making process of earlier this year, some merchants felt as if their voices were not heard until after we had secured permission to launch the Pop-Up Park for the summer. It is worthwhile to note here that we had heard and continue to hear from merchants that were very supportive of the Pop Up Park and felt it was a benefit to their business while others did not. 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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