A nonprofit organization dedicated to Waveny is moving forward with plans to improve the pond at the bottom of the sledding hill and surrounding area, parks officials said last week.
A centerpiece of the Waveny Park Conservancy’s master plan, the pond restoration project requires both state and federal approval, according to Recreation Director Steve Benko.
The town is funding a $170,000 dredge of Waveny Pond, and the Conservancy is committing an additional $150,000 “to go in and take out the understory and overgrown vines” from both sides of the pond on the approach from the main house, Benko said during a regular meeting of the Parks & Recreation Commission.
A new trail will be installed around the left-hand side of the pond on that approach, a project that will include removal of dead trees, brush and vines, Benko said at the Dec. 12 meeting, held at Lapham Community Center.
“It will really enhance the view of the pond as you walk down that path,” he said.
The Commission took no formal vote on the project though members voiced support for it.
A wetlands permit is needed to address the area on the right-hand side of the pond, Chairman Sally Campbell said.
“It will open up the vista, so when the spring comes this will be done and it will be an impactful project,” she said.
The Inland Wetlands Commission on Monday will formally accept an application regarding the pond for a January public hearing. According to the application, activities include a dredge of the pond and part of its upstream watercourse, installation of a weir, restoration of an existing boulder weir outlet and brook stone walls and installation of a new raised boardwalk on the north side of the pond to hook up with the proposed trail, as well as a wooden observation dock with handrails. Fairfield-Based landscape architect William Kenny Associates is listed as the agent on the Inland Wetlands application.
Parks Superintendent John Howe said the area in question is out back of the Carriage Barn Arts Center and comes to just over a half-acre.
Commissioner Doug Richardson asked what the town planned to do with the dredged material from Waveny Pond.
Campbell said Kenny plans to “tuck them along the bank” of the pond itself, subject to wetlands approval.
Howe said, “Where he’s talking about is almost a little hollow area. When he would be all done, you will not even notice and we are talking about a lot less dredging than what came out of Millport and Mead Pond, too. It’s a completely different area.”
Commissioner Gene Goodman asked whether features that local landscape architect Keith Simpson had included in the Conservancy’s original plan for Waveny Pond, such as a new stream system, would be preserved.
Benko said it would.
Simpson had called for not only a new stream system but also new trails, fishing dock, bridges and wildlife lookout area as well as the full dredge now planned, re-routing of a conspicuous utility line overhead (completed in 2017), installation of underwater bubblers to prevent hypoxia, improved spillway and extensive landscaping around the pond, such as the removal of several trees (work that’s also been done, at least in part) in order to restore the area to the Lapham family’s original vision and create better sightlines toward the main house.