Dramatic Drop in Tennis Pass Sales at Mead Opens Questions of Courts’ Future Use

New Canaan has seen a dramatic decline in the number of residents purchasing passes for the tennis courts at Mead Park, according to officials who now want to consider alternate uses for some of them. Members of the Parks & Recreation Commission said Wednesday night that while residents purchased some 400 passes a dozen years ago to play on the clay courts at Mead, that number declined to about 300 from 2012 to 2015, then 147 last year and just 112 this season, whose opening was delayed due to a contractor’s failure. “They have dropped by two-thirds almost,” Commission Chair Sally Campbell said during the group’s regular meeting, held at Latham Community Center. “So it appears there is not real heavy usage of the courts anymore. So we were thinking we have a little group some committee members who are going to look at what would be best thing to do with those courts.

Parks Officials Seek To Limit Donation Benches to Three Types, 10-Year Life

Town officials are recommending that New Canaan offer three options for those seeking to donate benches in public parks—for example, in memory of a loved one—as well as a new “protocol” that caps the life of such a donated bench at 10 years. After that time, a donor would could renew its donated bench at the cost of a new one, under a draft policy now under consideration by the Parks & Recreation Commission. Donating a bench for Waveny, Irwin or Mead Park would cost $1,500, while donation for an “athletic bench” at the parks would cost $1,000, under the proposed new “Bench Dedication Program Policy.”

The policy is designed to “streamline the work of the Parks Department and the Recreation Department” which often receives calls from people who want to donate a bench, according to Commission Chair Sally Campbell. “And somebody will go, ‘Well I am just going to buy this bench and put it in,’ ” Campbell said during the Commission’s most recent meeting. 

“But the bench has no connection to other benches in the park, so we are looking to try to get the same look,” she said at the meeting, held Sept. 11 at Lapham Community Center.

‘I Know It Is Extremely Frustrating’: Contractor’s Failure to Deliver Material Delays Opening of Clay Tennis Courts at Mead Park

Tennis players in New Canaan are frustrated that the courts at Mead Park haven’t yet opened for the season, officials said Wednesday night, a problem caused by a contracted company that’s failed to deliver the clay material. Normally, the “Hartru” courts at Mead are open around May 20, according to Recreation Director Steve Benko. 

But a Cheshire-based company that did a very good job preparing the facility last year, despite weather-related problems, has “dropped the ball” this spring, he said at a regular meeting of the Parks & Recreation Commission. “The problem is, they have to put 50 bags of material on each court,” he said during the meeting, held at Lapham Community Center. “They can’t get the material here to put it on the courts. So they came in and micro-groomed the courts and pulled weeds.

Parks Officials by 6-0 Vote Back Garden Club’s Plan for ‘Parterre Garden’ at Waveny

Parks officials on Wednesday night voted unanimously in support of a longstanding nonprofit organization’s plan to redesign, re-plant and otherwise improve a prominent garden at Waveny. The New Canaan Garden Club’s plan for the “parterre garden”—located east of the balcony of Waveny House (down that first set of stairs, en route to the sledding hill)—is “timeless and classic” and “engages both visually and physically,” according to Tori Frazer, a member of the organization’s Waveny Walled Garden Committee. “This has always been a formal garden,” Frazer told members of the Parks & Recreation Commission at their regular meeting, held at Lapham Community Center. “We intend for it to stay a formal garden. All the plantings and the plans are classic and will stand the test of time.”

The commission voted 6-0 in support of the plan.

‘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.