The proposed capital budget for next fiscal year, now before the Board of Finance, includes a $200,000 earmark for the restoration of a long-neglected and little-known bird sanctuary in New Canaan—one of the nation’s oldest—that advocates describe as an essential piece of the town’s walkable “greenlink” connecting public parks. Those seeking to restore the Bristow Bird Sanctuary and Wildwood Preserve already have received funds from organizations such as the New Canaan Community Foundation for a master plan for the 17-acre parcel tucked between Old Stamford Road and Mead Park.
Drawn up by New Canaan-based landscape architecture firm Keith Simpson Associates, the plan calls for five major phases starting in the fall and wrapping up in 2024, the year that will mark Bristow’s centennial anniversary. It covers what Conservation Commission Chair Chris Schipper described to the Board of Selectmen last month as “the five Ps”: perimeter (fencing), paths, (bird-viewing) pads (with benches), pond (minor dredge) and parking (off Route 106). “I believe [the plan] will take this really kind of hidden jewel—it’s a beautiful little park—that will take it to a state that will add a little luster to New Canaan,” Schipper told the selectmen during a Jan. 21 budget hearing held at Town Hall.
Officials last week approved $170,000 in town spending toward the dredging of Waveny Pond and improvements around it.
The figure is to be matched by funds supplied by a nonprofit organization, following a 3-0 vote by the Board of Selectmen at its regular meeting, held Aug. 20 in Town Hall. Work to be completed by Redding-based Nazzaro Inc. includes not only the first known dredge of the pond at the foot of the sledding hill, but also creation of a dock and observation area, guiderails and plantings, according to Maria Coplit, town engineer in the New Canaan Department of Public Works. The project cost is estimated at $325,406, with an additional contingency of $48,811, according to Coplit. The Waveny Park Conservancy is to match the town’s $170,000 contribution toward the project, and the approximately $34,000 beyond the $340,000 from both the town and organization will be held in escrow, Coplit said.
This week on 0684-Radi0, our free weekly podcast (subscribe here in the iTunes Store), we talk to Chris Schipper, chairman of the New Canaan Conservation Commission. The appointed body this year will unveil a master plan for the restoration of a 17-acre bird sanctuary and wildwood preserve—one of the very first in the United States—that’s been largely forgotten by locals. The plan, which is expected to start in earnest next fiscal year, will culminate with the centennial anniversary of the town-owned Bristow sanctuary. This week’s podcast is sponsored by Pet Pantry Warehouse, your local, family-owned, community-based pet specialty retailer. Here are recent episodes of 0684-Radi0:
The New Canaan Conservation Commission and Wildlife in Crisis are delighted to announce the planned release of four Bluebirds and a Cedar Waxwing at the Bristow Nature Park next to Mead Park at 5pm this Saturday, May 11th. The release will take place by the small pond near the Old Stamford Road entrance t0 the 16.8-acre Bristow Preserve. Those arriving by car should park by the Mead Park baseball fields and follow the signs to the Bristow entrance. The 4 orphaned bluebirds were brought to Wildlife in Crisis last summer, raised andspent the winter in a flight cage. The cedar waxwing was brought in suffering from a wing fracture and starvation.
Town officials say they’re hoping by the end of June to have the wetlands marked within a little-known bird sanctuary that adjoins Mead Park, the early stages of a larger effort to develop a “master plan” for the 17-acre parcel. With pedestrian entrances from Old Stamford Road to the south and Mead Park to the north, the 1924-created Bristow Bird Sanctuary and Wildwood Preserve is “a little hidden gem” of New Canaan, Conservation Commission Chairman Chris Schipper said during the group’s most recent regular meeting. The town has engaged local landscape architecture firm Keith Simpson Associates to develop a master plan and bid packages have gone out for wetlands marking as well as topographical surveying that will include trails, trees and “any noted spots” within Bristow, Schipper said during the April 11 meeting, held at Town Hall. “We have gotten our first returns on bids, but more importantly we have been fortunate in reaching out to some local foundations to say, ‘Hey would you support us with some seed money so we can develop a master plan for the Bristow preserve?’ And the thinking is that with a master plan developed we would start a process of rehabilitation, with a goal of having it done by 2024, which would be the centennial, the 100th anniversary of Bristow. So we have given ourselves a little time in how we would improve or rehabilitate this 16.8 acres at that point.