All of New Canaan’s athletic fields are open and the increasingly heavily used tennis courts at Mead Park are on track to open this month, officials said last week.
The company that helps ready the clay courts at Mead for the season has done its prep work, according to Parks & Recreation Director John Howe.
“We don’t want to do what we did last year, though,” Howe told members of the Parks & Recreation Commission during their April 12 meeting, held at Lapham Community Center and via videoconference.
“We opened too early,” he continued. “I’m not saying we are not opening up until June or anything like that, but we want a few weeks where we can water and roll the courts and have the surface firm up more. It will help keep the tapes down and everything else, so we’re not opening this weekend by any means, but we are watering and doing the maintenance as required.”
The comments came during Howe’s regular update to Parks & Rec.
Asked by Commission Secretary Francesca Segalas, an advocate for the sport, whether Howe expected the courts to open by the end of April, he said, “Barring bad weather, yes.”
“I’d say in the next two weeks,” Howe continued . “And the forecast for the weather isn’t bad. So I think we’ll be doing well.”
According to the town website, players will be able purchase their seasonal passes online and can pick them up from a court attendant. The season runs through October. Reservations may be made via phone or line, the website says.
The town last fall approved a contract to install new lights at two of the eight regulation courts at Mead.
As with other outdoor racket sports such as paddle, tennis saw a sharp and sustained rise in popularity following the onset of COVID-19. Sales of Mead Park tennis permits increased by 70% year-over-year in 2021, officials have said, and sign-ups for tennis clinics hit record-highs.
Howe noted during his update that all athletic fields are open.
“I heard a rumor going around that I don’t let them open up until the 15th of April, which isn’t really true,” he added. “The 15th of April historically is a good day to plan to have all our athletic fields open. I think that’s how it got misconstrued. But we open as they become available. If we can prep one field for baseball or softball, we will prep that field and let the kids get out.”