Steve Benko

Recent Articles

‘I Am Very Frustrated’: Parks Officials Address Court-Booking Problem Caused by Discourteous Platform Tennis Players

Parks officials say they’re addressing a problem where permit-holders for New Canaan’s platform tennis courts at Waveny are placing reservations online and then fail to show up or else cancel at the last minute, leaving them vacant and preventing others from playing. A municipal recreation program manager has contacted all permit-holders about the problem and some are responding that they didn’t understand the consequences of their actions, members of the Parks & Recreation Commission said at their most recent meeting. “I am very frustrated by it because it’s hard to get matches,” commissioner Jason Milligan said at the Feb. 14 meeting, held at Lapham Community Center. “You have basically a two-week period to schedule each one and it gets busy and you have to basically wake up early as the thing opens and book it for the busy slots and if you do not do that, you can’t get a slot. Continue Reading →

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Local Woman To Place ‘Shame on You’ Flags on Deserted Dog Feces in Irwin Park

Parks officials on Wednesday night heard from a New Canaan woman who has a new idea for shaming those who walk dogs in Irwin Park and leave the animals’ feces behind, a continual problem that’s reared up recently. Jean Scheidl said she would plant 4-by-6-inch vinyl ‘Shame On You’ flags on each individual pile of excrement left at the popular park in order to send a message to the irresponsible dog owners who leave them. At last count, Scheidl said she spotted and a photographed 31 such messes on and around the Flexi-pave walk around the park’s perimeter. “I think something has to be done because it is not pleasant, it really isn’t,” Scheidl told members of the Parks & Recreation Commission at their regular meeting, held at Lapham Community Center. “I think when people come back and see that it is not right then they maybe will stop doing it,” she said. Continue Reading →

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Parks & Rec Approves Spring Dates for 2nd Annual ‘Cherry Blossom Festival’ at Mead

Following a successful inaugural event, town officials this month approved use of the colonnade area at Mead Park by the Japan Society of Fairfield County for a cherry blossom festival this spring. The Parks & Recreation Commission voted 6-0 to approve the festival to run on Sunday, May 6—or, if the Society prefers, to run on Sunday, April 29 with May 6 as a rain date. “It was just a wonderful gathering, very family-friendly,” commission Chair Sally Campbell said of last year’s festival. New Canaan resident Jackie Alexander, a member of the Society who is helping organize the festivals, said the events are traditional celebrations in both Japan and the United States. “Cherry blossoms, as you know, are a harbinger of spring, it’s very fleeting, so it’s meant to appreciate the tradition of enjoying each moment of the cherry blossoms season,” Alexander told commissioners at the meeting, held in Lapham Community Center. Continue Reading →

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Parks Officials Propose 2018 Waveny Pool Rates

Saying that Waveny Pool’s reserve fund is in good shape, parks officials are recommending only modest increases to certain fees to use the popular facility, while significantly reducing the costs for an individual pass. The Parks & Recreation Commission voted 6-0 at its Jan. 10 meeting to hold the resident family pass rate at $455 for the season—it typically is open Memorial Day to Labor Day—while reducing the cost of an individual pass from $265 to $175. Recreation Director Steve Benko said that last year’s price drew some criticisms from residents saying it was too high, that they “don’t go that often” or only go on weekends, “so giving that we are on sound financial footing the committee felt that they would reduce the pass to $175 for the season.”

Commissioners voting in favor of the new slate were Sally Campbell, Hank Green, Francesca Segalas, Katie Owsley, Gene Goodman and Matt Konspore. Commissioners Doug Richardson, Jason Milligan, Andy Gordon and Laura Costigan were absent. Continue Reading →

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Town Enters $150,000 Contract for New Playground Equipment for Mead Park

Town officials on Tuesday agreed to enter into a contract with a Fort Payne, Ala.-based company for new playground equipment at Mead Park. The $150,889 contract with GameTime is part of $190,000 budgeted for the current fiscal year to upgrade the outdated equipment there now, with the balance of going to removing existing footings and wood chips at the kids’ main playground at Mead and to grade the site for the new gear. Though the installation itself is not planned until next summer, placing the order with GameTime now will lock up a price and avoid an additional $7,500 in fees, according to Recreation Director Steve Benko. Benko told members of the Board of Selectmen during their regular meeting that a new “Pour In Place” or “PIP” smooth rubber surface that will surround the playground equipment—as well as some additional play structures—are to be funded by the nonprofit Friends of Mead Park Playground. The Friends group, founded by two New Canaan moms, “came up with the plans,” Benko said during the meeting, held at Town Hall. Continue Reading →

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