‘Marketing’ New Canaan: Town Officials Eye More Regular, Robust Social Media Presence

Municipal officials plan to tap local business and real estate leaders as they look for ways to use technologies such as social media and the town website to market New Canaan. Members of the Technology Advisory Committee said during a regular meeting Tuesday night that they would consult with the heads of the New Canaan Chamber of Commerce and New Canaan Board of Realtors in forming a set of recommendations. As it is, various municipal departments use Facebook and Twitter accounts differently and—with the exception of some, such as the New Canaan Police Department’s Twitter feed—post information at irregular intervals, according to committee member Annamari Mikkola. “If you want to market things, make people aware of things such as payment processing, we could certainly use it [ the town’s Facebook page] for town marketing,” she said at the meeting, held in Town Hall. “There are really no pictures,” Mikkola said.

Town in Talks to Create Additional Commuter Parking Spaces Through ‘Boxcar’ App

Town officials have been in talks for one month with a Cranford, N.J.-based company that recruits private property owners to offer parking to commuters via a mobile app, according to First Selectman Kevin Moynihan. Moynihan said last week that the company, called Boxcar, generally launches in towns that have train stations. “They go to the funeral homes, the churches, the supermarkets—everything in the area around the train station—and they ask them to put their excess parking spaces into a pool, which is an online app where people go and reserve those spaces,” he told members of the Technology Advisory Committee at their inaugural meeting, held May 8 at Town Hall. “And people charge $5, $6, $7 a day depending on where the space is.”

Moynihan said the board plans to meet with the company again this week and officials have already spoken with St. Aloysius Church about making 50 spaces in its Cherry Street lot available on the Boxcar app.

New Technology Advisory Committee Elects Chairman, Secretary

New Canaan’s Technology Advisory Committee, created by Board of Selectmen in February to identify and recommend technologies that would help town government run more efficiently, held its inaugural meeting Tuesday night at Town Hall to elect officers, discuss the status of information technology in the town and identify initial areas of focus. First Selectman Kevin Moynihan attended the meeting to facilitate the nominations for the committee’s chairman and secretary. The committee unanimously nominated and approved Randy Dalia, who previously served as vice president at IBM, as chairman and Paul Pureka, who previously served as regional manager for information systems at Citibank in London and Puerto Rico, as secretary. The remaining members of the committee are Mike Abbott, digital lead, Accenture Financial Services; Annamari Mikkola, freelance art director and producer; and Jeff Platt, vice president of global marketing at MasterCard. Following a brief discussion of the meeting schedule, Christopher Kaiser, the town’s director of information technology, shared the results of a survey taken of managers within municipal government about their current technological use and future needs.

Did You Hear … ?

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The bagels are back in town: Upper Crust Bakery & Café opens Thursday morning in the former Brueggers space on South Avenue downtown. ***

Currently, 843 people belong to Spencer’s Run, New Canaan’s dog park at Waveny, and slightly more than half of those are nonresidents, Parks & Recreation Commissioner Rona Siegel reported on Wednesday night during the commission’s regular meeting. ***

The Board of Selectmen by a 2-0 vote Tuesday approved a $938,000 contract with FGB Construction to repave and otherwise improve the following town roads (First Selectman Kevin Moynihan and Selectman Kit Devereaux cast votes, as Selectman Nick Williams was absent):

Huckleberry Road from Valley Road to the town line
Jonathan Road
Mill Road
Pepper Lane
Sagamore Trail
Siwanoy Lane
Summer Street from Lakeview to East Avenue and from Cross Street to Locust Avenue
Turning Mill Lane

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The photo gallery above features the newest aerial photos of the sports fields and track at New Canaan High School. ***

Town officials broke ground with Eversource on Wednesday for the company’s $25 million natural gas project. It will start with the installation of 4.7 miles of underground pipeline, making the fuel available to more than 500 homes and businesses.

Did You Hear … ?

We’re wishing a speedy recovery for New Canaan First Selectman Rob Mallozzi, who is laid up at home this week—booked already as a vacation week—after spraining his ankle and breaking a lower leg bone (fibula) during a freak accident last weekend. Up in Newport, R.I. with New Canaanites Nick Williams, a second selectman, and Paul Foley, a police commissioner, for the 12-meter sailing races, Mallozzi—who had gone uninjured in eight years as a volunteer firefighter here in town—took a misstep between a sailboat and launch and rolled his ankle. As per Coastal Orthopaedics in Norwalk, the first selectman said he’s got to keep the leg elevated for a full week to prevent swelling and quicken the recovery process, and hopes to be back at work next Tuesday. “Everyone has reached out to me, my wife and family and friends have been wonderful, and as upset as I am, that part of this has made it a little easier,” Mallozzi said on Wednesday. The first selectman was to have taken a real vacation this week, including an Eagles concert, but had to forego it while he recovers at home.