Town Officials Call for Less Conspicuous Garbage Dumpsters in Parks

Town officials said last week that they’re addressing an aesthetic problem whereby those entering local parks in some cases are accosted by the sight of garbage dumpsters. 

The town many years ago switched from trash cans dotted around fields at parks such as Waveny and Mead, to having dumpsters, according to Parks & Recreation Commission Chair Sally Campbell. That effort was “very critical to reducing the amount of trash on the fields and in our parks,” she said during the Commission’s regular meeting, held Oct. 10 at Lapham Community Center. 

“However, we find that every park we drive into we are verbally assaulted by City Carting on the dumpsters,” she said. The answer, according to Commissioner Hank Green, who has looked at how nearby towns handle their dumpsters, will involve putting up three-sided fencing around them. “It should be a pretty easy fix,” Green said.

Wet Weather Delays Installation of New ‘Mead Park Playground’ To Spring

The extremely wet fall weather has set back the baseball fields project at Mead Park, officials said last week, and one knock-on effect of that is a delay in the installation of a new playground area that now is not expected to open until the spring. Though the New Canaan Baseball project at Mead is “pretty much on schedule,” Recreation Director Steve Benko said, “the weather set them back” and there have been “some days they could not work, it was just too wet.”

It’s “critical” for New Canaan Baseball to get its paving done before a “Poured In Place” rubberized surface for new playground equipment at Mead is installed, and the contractor on the job has said the earliest he could start would be mid-November, Benko told members of the Parks & Recreation Commission at their regular meeting. “He said he’s is a little leery of that because once you get into December, the Poured In Place material is temperature sensitive,” Benko said during the meeting, held at Lapham Community Center. 

If the rubberized material is installed before the hardscape, there’s a risk that seams open up in it, Benko said. Referring to a contractor hired by Fort Wayne, Ala.-based GameTime, Benko added: “So the contractor felt it would be in our best interests to get the best possible job of surfacing if we could push off the installation the playground to the beginning of April. Then, he said, you’re not chasing the cold and you will do a good job with the surfacing.

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 To Vote on Shifting Oversight of ‘Bristow Bird Sanctuary’ to Town’s Conservation Commission

Municipal officials are expected Wednesday to recommend transferring responsibility of a wooded town-owned parcel adjoining Mead Park to the Conservation Commission. Enjoyed by neighborhood residents, nature-lovers and leashed-dog walkers, the “Bristow Bird Sanctuary” off of Old Stamford Road long has been under the purview of the New Canaan Parks & Recreation Commission. 

Yet the town’s Conservation Commission “has forestry professionals on the board and they know more about how to handle and manage a sanctuary than we do,” Parks & Rec Commissioner Francesca Segalas said at the group’s most recent meeting. “Plus we haven’t been able to get funds approved for various things we have asked for so we are hoping that in another entity’s hands that it will get the good care and love that it deserves,” Segalas said at the meeting, held Sept. 11 at Lapham Community Center. 

The Commission is scheduled to take up a vote during its regular meeting, to be held at 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 10, to transfer responsibility of the park.

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.