Katie Owsley

Recent Articles

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 by 9-0 Vote Support Waveny Park Conservancy’s Plans for Trails, Cornfields

Parks officials last week voted unanimously to support three major projects that an all-volunteer, nonprofit organization dedicated to Waveny Park has slated for this calendar year. The Waveny Park Conservancy plans in 2017 to create and improve trails at the cherished town park that ultimately will give pedestrians a high-quality surface that runs from the South Avenue entrance to the western parking lot up at the main house, officials with the organization said during the Feb. 8 Parks & Recreation Commission meeting. Additionally—thanks largely to a $300,000 grant from the Jeniam Foundation, established by the late Andrew Clarkson—the organization is seeking to comb through a 7-acre site in the southeast corner of Waveny in order to remove a highly invasive grass called ‘phragmites,’ according to Keith Simpson, a local landscape architect and member of the conservancy’s board. Though the conservancy will stay away from chemical treatments to abate the phragmites that already have taken root in ‘The Cornfields,’ “if we get them down to a really minor amount, we might be able to spot-treat that,” Simpson told the commission at the meeting, held in Lapham Community Center. 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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Parks Officials Propose New Rental Rates for Waveny House

Saying rental rates at Waveny House have fallen out-of-line with similar area facilities and require seasonal flexibility, parks officials last week voted unanimously to recommend a new slate of fees. Whereas rates for several years have been fixed at $2,650 for non-residents and $1,500 for residents, the Parks & Recreation Commission at its Jan. 11 meeting voted I favor of the following schedule:

 

In addition to those fees, a rental of the “walled garden” area would be available for $350 under the proposed rates, up from $250. The town should be drawing as much money as possible in renting out the facility, according to Gene Goodman, who drew up the proposed rates with help from fellow Parks & Rec commissioner Katie Owsley. “We should be maximizing the revenue,” Goodman said at the meeting, held at Lapham Community Center. 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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