Keith Simpson

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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Selectmen Approve First Phase of Reconstructed Trail along Main Road through Waveny

Town officials on Tuesday approved a privately funded project at Waveny that will see one of the park’s most heavily used trails overhauled to improve use and drainage. The Board of Selectmen at its regular meeting unanimously approved a $49,200 contract with a local landscaping company to reconstruct the trail that runs from Waveny’s South Avenue entrance, along the main road through the park to the “four-way intersection” at the foot of the hill. To be completed in four sections, starting at the “four-way” and progressing eastward, is to be funded by the Waveny Park Conservancy. The first section will include two stream crossings and already has been approved by Inland Wetlands officials, according to Tiger Mann, director of the Department of Public works. Three companies put in bids for the job and their proposals were “quite tight,” coming in within $1,000 of each other, Mann told the selectmen during their regular meeting, held at Town Hall. Continue Reading →

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Apple, Plum Trees Near Town Hall To Be Removed as Part of Beautification Plan

Officials on Tuesday approved a contract for tree pruning and removal throughout New Canaan that includes part of a plan to beautify the area around Town Hall. Two apple and two plum trees above the retaining wall by Vine Cottage will be removed, and work will commence to re-plant the area as per a plan from landscape architect Keith Simpson of the New Canaan Beautification League, members of the Board of Selectmen said during their regular meeting. Representatives of the league “have some low-growing shrubs and items that are going to hang over the wall a little bit, for a very nice planting plan in the area,” according to Department of Public Works Director Tiger Mann. “We passed [the request for tree removal] through [New Canaan Tree Warden] Bob Horan—he wanted to wanted to make sure that there was a plan in place to move forward,” Mann said during the meeting, held at Town Hall. “Once we showed him that, he was happy.”

The plan calls for the addition of a flowering plant—an evergreen shrub called “Euonymus fortunei”—to an area near the top of the retaining wall, while existing ornamental plantings will remain there. Continue Reading →

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‘Waveny Meadows’: Conservancy Seeks Special Permit in Dramatic Transformation of Cornfields Area

After earning unanimous support from three separate town bodies, members of the Waveny Park Conservancy have applied for a special permit for a project that’s expected to transform dramatically a long-disused corner of one of New Canaan’s cherished areas. The nonprofit organization’s plans for “the cornfields” in Waveny’s southeastern corner require special permit approval under the New Canaan Zoning Regulations because the work will involve soil disturbance of more than 10,000 square feet—about 30 times more. A part historically of the cleared farmland that composed much of Waveny prior to the town’s acquisition of the land in 1967, the cornfields area had been a wildflower meadow largely left alone until several years ago, when it was leveled to serve as a staging ground for material dredged from Mead and Mill Ponds, according to an application filed on behalf of the conservancy by local landscape architect Keith Simpson, a board member of the group. “The Waveny Park Conservancy, and its donor partners, is proposing to improve the cornfields into an area of passive recreation with open meadows, trails, and other wildlife enhancements,” Simpson wrote in a description of the project that forms part of the application. “There are several steps that must occur to achieve the desired goals.”

Those steps include using excavation machinery to remove a highly invasive grass called ‘phragmites’—stalks and root systems alike—and re-grading the entire area. Continue Reading →

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‘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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