‘COVID-19 Mandatory Mask Zone’ Signs Posted Downtown

Municipal officials this week posted several signs downtown designating heavily foot-trafficked areas as “mandatory mask zones.”

The yellow signs posted on lampposts say the COVID-19 mask zones are in effect from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. They bear the town seal and include the message, “Thank you for your cooperation.”

In all, 24 signs will go up on Elm, Forest, Main and Pine Streets, First Selectman Kevin Moynihan told members of the Town Council during their regular meeting Wednesday night. Asked during his update to the Town Council why there’s a set time when the mask zone is in effect, Moynihan said, “Because it’s going to relate to issuing fines. The state is getting very serious about issuing fines.” He said that the state is urging municipalities to enforce rules about mask-wearing and prohibitions on large gatherings, and that town scan be mandated to undergo training on issuing fines if their COVID numbers rise and they’ve taken no enforcement steps.

Pesticides on New Canaan Playing Fields: Town Approves $3,000 Contract for Third-Party Evaluation

Weeks after a selectman questioned the town’s use of pesticides, officials on Tuesday approved a $3,000 contract with a Burlington, Mass.-based company to evaluate two New Canaan playing fields—one that gets the chemicals and one that doesn’t. Strangely, Selectman Kathleen Corbet—who has questioned why some fields used by local kids get pesticide treatments while others don’t, and has drafted a memo making recommendations on pesticides—appeared not to know about plans to hire Tom Irwin Advisors to look at the two fields. “What are we ‘evaluating’ there?” Corbet asked during the Board of Selectmen’s regular meeting, when an agenda item to approve small contracts came up. The Board of Selectmen regularly approve contracts less than $10,000 in bulk. A note on this contract, out of the Department of Public Works, said only, “evaluate fields at Saxe and school Conner field.” While state law prohibits playing fields that are part of Saxe school grounds from receiving pesticide treatments, Conner—a town property located along Farm Road next to the middle school—does get a midsummer application.

Town Approves $778,000 Contract To Create ADA-Compliant Entrances to Waveny House

Town officials on Tuesday approved a $750,000-plus contract with a Ridgefield-based company to create ADA-compliant entrances to Waveny House. The work is to include a new sidewalk leading to the west porch of the public building, new doorway there and raising of the “loggia” by the balcony out back, as well as upgrades to a fire escape along the side of the brick mansion, home to two municipal departments and site of special events. An existing ramp that runs up to the west porch “was not compliant,” according to Public Works Director Tiger Mann. “So the thought was to change that grade, make it more of a sidewalk, no longer a ramp, and slope it into the western porch, and then change the access through the doors there into the building,” Mann told members of the Board of Selectmen at their regular meeting, held via videoconference. “Through our code consultant it was determined that we needed access out onto the loggia on the back porch.

‘They Needed To Get Out’: New Canaan Family Attendance Up at Waveny Pool in 2020

The town this summer sold as many resident family passes for Waveny Pool as it did the prior year, officials say, and even saw attendance up by 400-plus visitors from 2019. Many dads were home due to COVID-19 virus-related restrictions and “they needed to get out of the home office and relax,” according to Recreation Director Steven Benko,. “I think a lot of dads were off work so they came to the pool with the kids,” Benko said during an Oct. 7 meeting of a Town Council committee, held via videoconference. “Plus it was a hot summer, and there wasn’t a lot of rainy days.”

Citing expected high demand and new restrictions that limit capacity, officials decided in June to only sell passes to the pool, at least for the start of the 2020 season, to residents of New Canaan.

Library: Rebuilding Project on Track for Spring As Parking Plan, Schematic Design Get Finalized 

The timetable for municipal approvals of the widely anticipated New Canaan Library rebuilding project has been pushed back a bit pending details around parking and specifics of financials, the town’s highest elected official said this week. First Selectman Kevin Moynihan said Tuesday that he had anticipated the library coming to the Board of Finance this week “with further financial information, but they are waiting for pricing estimates on their project.”

“The Board of Finance has made clear that they want much more specific numbers before they can move forward,” Moynihan said during a regular meeting of the Selectmen’s Advisory Committee on Buildings and Infrastructure, held via videoconference. “The Town Council has made clear that they want to see what is going to Planning & Zoning, which now has slipped a bit to the end of November, apparently.”

The $36 million rebuilding of New Canaan Library is still expected to commence next spring and construction will continue for about two years, the library’s executive director, Lisa Oldham, confirmed when asked about the project. Under a draft Memorandum of Understanding or ‘MOU’ with the town that’s been under negotiation since early this year, the town is to contribute $10 million toward the project while the library bears the balance of the cost through its own fundraising and a $15 million commercial construction loan from Bankwell, documents show. Moynihan said that parking is among the key pieces of the MOU.