Waveny Park Conservancy

Recent Articles

‘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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PHOTOS: Christopher Lloyd Regales Waveny Park Conservancy, Supporters Ahead of Dec. 2 ‘Golden Gala’; Lloyds To Serve as Honorary Chairpersons

Christopher Lloyd on Wednesday night stepped toward the limestone fireplace in the grand hall of his childhood home in New Canaan, turned and told about 50 town residents gathered there that returning to Waveny House reminds him of his past. On this evening—a cocktail party hosted by the Waveny Park Conservancy to honor the organization’s founders and supporters, and kick off fundraising plans for 2017—the actor said he found himself thinking about “one particular incident” involving his father, Samuel R. Lloyd Jr.

“My father liked to have a cigar from time to time, and there was a humidor in that room, the billiard room,” he said, pointing past the staircase that New Canaanites for decades have climbed to reach the Recreation Department’s offices. “There’s still a billiard table in there, though for some reason it’s kind of dark. And there’s a humidor, and when I was seven, eight, nine years old, I became aware that it contained cigars, and I experimented. I kind of secreted one, went outside, lit it up. Continue Reading →

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Parks Officials by 9-0 Vote Support Waveny Park Conservancy’s Plans for Trails, Cornfields

Parks officials last week voted unanimously to support three major projects that an all-volunteer, nonprofit organization dedicated to Waveny Park has slated for this calendar year. The Waveny Park Conservancy plans in 2017 to create and improve trails at the cherished town park that ultimately will give pedestrians a high-quality surface that runs from the South Avenue entrance to the western parking lot up at the main house, officials with the organization said during the Feb. 8 Parks & Recreation Commission meeting. Additionally—thanks largely to a $300,000 grant from the Jeniam Foundation, established by the late Andrew Clarkson—the organization is seeking to comb through a 7-acre site in the southeast corner of Waveny in order to remove a highly invasive grass called ‘phragmites,’ according to Keith Simpson, a local landscape architect and member of the conservancy’s board. Though the conservancy will stay away from chemical treatments to abate the phragmites that already have taken root in ‘The Cornfields,’ “if we get them down to a really minor amount, we might be able to spot-treat that,” Simpson told the commission at the meeting, held in Lapham Community Center. Continue Reading →

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‘Make Sure the Trail Gets Finished Properly’: Parks Officials Push for Top Mix on New Pedestrian Path at Waveny

Seeking to make more widely usable a new trail at Waveny, public works officials said Wednesday night that they’re hoping to partner with a nonprofit organization that’s dedicated to ensuring that the park continues to thrive and serve New Canaanites. The Waveny Park Conservancy—a group that’s already created a pair of popular new trails—would like to see every trail in the park use its high-quality mix as a top layer for New Canaanites to trod as they pass, according to Tiger Mann, director of the Department of Public Works. Yet that mix is “very expensive” as such materials go, and in order to purchase enough to cover a long new trail that runs from the main road through Waveny toward Lapham Community Center, some help is needed, Mann told members of the Park & Recreation Commission at their regular monthly meeting. With the town working on a regularly approved budget of about $50,000 for such projects, “we are going to need a little help from the conservancy,” Mann said at the meeting, held at Lapham Community Center. Originally requested two years ago by Recreation Director Steve Benko, the trail garnered support from New Canaan’s funding bodies and received approval for a $43,000 contract from the selectmen in October. Continue Reading →

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‘A Full Rich Experience’: Conservancy Reviews History of Waveny Park, Future Plans

Perhaps the most important step taken by the last family to own privately what is today known as Waveny Park was in hiring the renowned Olmsted Brothers landscape architecture firm to design its grounds and gardens, a local expert said Wednesday. Led by the Brooklyn-born founder of Texaco Oil Company, the Lapham family not only built Waveny House but oversaw creation of the carefully cultivated area immediately around it, including the walled garden, according to Keith Simpson, a New Canaan-based landscape architect. Yet since New Canaan acquired the property in 1967, its main house, outbuildings and grounds all have needed regular repair and upkeep, such as when Simpson and the Garden Club restored the walled garden east of the prominent brick structure in 1982. “But it’s only a small area,” Simpson told more than 100 listeners gathered in the Visitors Center at the New Canaan Nature Center for an hour-long talk on the cherished public park. “More places need attention. Continue Reading →

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