Failed Pump Delays Opening of Kiwanis Pond to Wednesday


Town officials on Tuesday approved an approximately $10,000 contract with a Danbury-based company to replace a well pump at Kiwanis Park.

The “pond” or swimming hole at the Old Norwalk Road park is pumped out each spring and the pump runs through the summer season, according to Parks & Recreation Director John Howe. Town workers then go in and add more sand and other material to prep it for visitors, he told the Board of Selectmen at its regular meeting.

“This year we turned the pump on and we had basically a direct short,” Howe said at the meeting, held in Town Hall and via videoconference. “The pump was fried.”

The opening of Kiwanis was delayed as a result, with the Rec Department sending out an email to passholders last Friday saying: “Kiwanis Park is CLOSED until further notice. We apologize for the inconvenience.” 

First Selectman Dionna Carlson noted during the meeting that people do not need to have a pass to visit Kiwanis and said there was confusion because the implication was that the park was closed indefinitely.

“We need to maybe be more specific on what’s actually closed,” she said.

Howe said that Foley’s Pump Service fortunately was able to deliver the pump the same day that town officials were prepping the pond, and that he expects the pond to open Wednesday.

The selectmen asked whether the park was closed through the weekend due to the water problem (it takes a long time to fill the pond), when was the last time the town refilled the pond’s water (every year), whether it’s taking longer this year (yes, likely because there’s more evaporation as the days get warmer), where the well is (near the storage shed), whether the pond is spring-fed at all (yes to a limited degree) and how old was the pump that died (possibly 16 to 17 years but that’s not certain).

Carlson and Selectmen Steve Karl and Amy Murphy Carroll voted 3-0 in favor of the $10,558.37 contract with Foley’s.

Carlson noted during the meeting that she had received multiple emails regarding the delayed opening of Kiwanis Park.

Obtained by through a public records request, the emails include this exchange between Old Norwalk Road resident Angelo Cerbone and Carlson on Friday after the email bulletin went out:

Cerbone: Why has the Kiwanis Park beach been indefinitely closed on the eve of its season opening at the very last minute? This reeks of incompetency!

Carlson: Kiwanis is closed due to the water pump for the pond needing to be replaced. John Howe informed me the pump has been replaced but it is taking a long time to get the water to the appropriate level. Sorry for the inconvenience.

Cerbone: Thank you so much for the reply. I really appreciate the response and at least a reason for the closure. We have over 400 feet of property that shares a property line with Kiwanis, so we see firsthand what goes on daily. Kiwanis was drained (as it usually is) well over a month ago and remained empty for weeks. In fact, it was not completely filled until this week which is much later than normal. Commissioner Keith Richey asked at the May 2024 Park and Recreation Commission meeting if the pond would be refilled and operational by opening day and was assured it would. A broken pump should have been tested and replaced over a month ago and have no effect on opening day. Someone dropped the ball and it’s disturbing.

4 thoughts on “Failed Pump Delays Opening of Kiwanis Pond to Wednesday

  1. Below is the link to the Board of Selectmen meeting covered in this article (thanks, Mike!):–k6HcM

    The June 18, 2024 Board of Selectmen meeting wherein John Howe discusses the delay in opening the beach in Kiwanis Park starts at the 34:40 mark and specifics about the “after the fact” well pump problem begins approximately at 36:00 mark. As mentioned By Mr. Howe the work needed to open the beach on time started 3 weeks later than last year.

    On Tuesday June 18, Modern Plumbing was diligently working in the beach pavilion. When I entered the Ladies Restroom I noticed a ceiling tile was moved so as to expose plumbing pipes. Why wasn’t plumbing checked earlier this year?

    Late Tuesday afternoon a lifeguard was skimming algae off the surface of the pond. This is work that could have been addressed last week.

    Although the beach was open to registered beach pass holders since Monday, June 17th, gate attendants had no laptop to electronically scan beach pass holder membership information. Instead they hand wrote the names of pass holders. The attendance count may be understated since parents of children showed a pass but their children did not. Why weren’t laptops ready before the scheduled opening date?

    First Selectman Carlson’s suggestion that e-notifications “Kiwanis Park is closed until further notice” be more accurate. Kiwanis Park was not closed at all this year. It is open all year round, but many residents the entire park and beach were closed. Last Friday I contacted the Recreation staff with the same recommendation as Dionna mentioned in the BOS meeting. The beach was open on Monday but many residents thought the beach and park were closed.

    In years past, if the beach was closed, but the pool was open, as a courtesy to beach holders, Steve Benko allowed the beach pass holders to enjoy to enjoy the pool until the beach re-opened. I hope that the present administration will do likewise.

    To the person who maintains the Kiwanis Park Facebook:
    Can you please update news about the beach and park? I appreciate your posting so many happy faces of families enjoying the beach:

  2. There should be a sign when entering/driving into the park on what is open or closed as it is very confusing to most of the public…

    One large sign when driving in…
    Beach (open or closed) Passholders only
    Playground (open or closed) Public and Passholders
    Swimming Pond (open or closed) Passholders only
    YMCA Camp (open open or closed)
    Pavilion (open or closed) Passholders Only
    Food Stand (open or closed)
    Basket ball court and volley ball court – (open to public or Camp only)
    Trails (South of the Pavilion) (Open to the public or Camp only)

  3. Todd,

    Thank you for your wonderful suggestions and for your concern about Kiwanis Park.

    – An Open/Closed message should be printed and displayed on the bulletin board in the pavilion. This should be updated in a timely manner. This is important for newcomers or people who are not registered in any Rec activity.

    – Years ago I created and posted a beautiful flyer on the pavilion bulletin board when many people inquired about Membership Rates. I suggested posting Membership Rates and how to obtain passes several times during Parks and Rec Meetings over the years. This still isn’t being done.

    – In addition, I posted the entire Parks and Rec Meeting schedule on the bulletin board in the pavilion so the public can come and voice their complaints, suggestions and hear what is going or with our parks. This should be done at the pool, beach and communicated in e-blasts.

    – I encourage residents who are unhappy with your experience(s) in our parks, or if you want to make suggestions, to please zoom into or attend the Parks and Rec meetings held monthly on the second Wednesday at 7pm in Lapham Center. I have attended many meetings since 1999. No meeting is held in August.

    – E-blasting messages about what is open and closed to all people registered in all Rec activities should be done every morning including weekends. If an area is closed a clear explanation as to why should be included.

    I hope our Town Officials, Rec staff and P+R commissioners read these comments.

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