Parks officials this month approved the installation of expanded new softball batting cages at Waveny that also will include warmup mounds for pitchers.
The Parks & Recreation Commission voted 9-0 in favor of the project, to be funded almost entirely by New Canaan Softball. The cages will be installed on an approximately 70-by-45-foot concrete pad, with granite curbing, east of the “Water Tower Field,” where a single softball batting cage now sits, according to Parks Superintendent John Howe.
“The girls could definitely use it,” Howe told members of the Commission during their regular meeting, held Oct. 13 via videoconference. “There is room in the area. It’s out of the way.”
The new cages will be enclosed in a chain-link fence in order to secure them, with a crushed stone surface inside to allow for drainage and a carpet for the pitching mounds, Howe said.
He recognized Recreation Supervisor Steve Dayton as the “yeoman” who had worked with the company that provides batting cages.
“New Canaan Softball has agreed to really partner in this project and really do the whole thing,” Howe said. “We will do the fence and granite curbing but they are willing to pay for it.”
Commission Chair Rona Siegel and members Carl Mason, Francesca Segalas, Steve Haberstroh, Hank Green, Gene Goodman, Laura Costigan and Jack Hawkins voted unanimously in favor of the installation. Commissioner George Benington had not yet joined the meeting, and Matt Konspore and Jake Granito were absent.
New Canaan Softball President Jack Sousa said the sport has seen “great growth” in recent years, with 200-plus players registered this past spring and 100-plus for the fall. The batting cages have been at the top of the wishlist for the softball community, and will allow for far greater use of the fields not just by New Canaan Softball but by the New Canaan High School players, too, Sousa said.
Commissioners asked whether there are softball batting cages on the adjacent Orchard Field (no), whether there’s a more centralized location for the new cages (it’s the best place given the new parking lot by the remaining water tower, and is out of the way of the gas line that cuts through Waveny near there), whether there are already batting cages at Mead Park (only for baseball) and whether trees will need to be removed as part of the project (no).
It’s unclear how much the project will cost. Sousa said New Canaan Softball has been able to raise the money due to strong enrollment and with “conservative spending” amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The softball community is “proud and excited about that,” he said.