Organizers Suspend Pop Up Park after Some Merchants Raise Concerns

The committee that developed, managed and advocated on behalf of the Pop Up Park downtown—recently securing approval to keep it in place through the summer—is suspending those plans indefinitely after a group of merchants in town voiced opposition. According to a letter obtained by NewCanaanite.com that’s signed by 16 business owners downtown—most of them retailers, including Elm Street Books owner Susan Rein and Pimilico owner Jill Saunders (see full letter below, as well as those who added their names to it)—the Pop Up Park in occupying the final block of South Avenue at Elm Street obstructs traffic, blocks parking and displaces an important loading zone. While complimenting Pop Up Park Committee members for their passion and diligence, these merchants say, the park itself “hampers business” because its visitors do not patronize local shops and restaurants. “If it continues much longer, the small-town charm of New Canaan’s downtown is going to be overrun by big box chains just like many other towns in our area,” according to the letter, dated June 1. “The look of the Park does nothing to enhance the visual appeal of town,” the letter said.

‘Found Materials’ Art Exhibition Coming to Carriage Barn

 

Several local businesses are helping to sponsor a soon-to-launch exhibition at Carriage Barn Arts Center that features “found” or repurposed materials, as a long-established arts culture in New Canaan increasingly integrates with other parts of the community. The exhibition, “Spectrum/Sustainable Arts Show” (the 25th annual Spectrum show) launches March 23 following a free, open reception at the Waveny-based arts center from 6 to 8 p.m. on Saturday, March 22. Among the featured New York artists is June Ahrens, now New Canaan-based, whose “Staying Afloat” uses the kinds of found materials she’s worked with for her entire career, according to a written statement from the Carriage Barn Arts Center. “Artistically, I transform discarded objects to create a visual language that evokes the experiences of impermanence and loss, fragility and vulnerability, pain and most of all healing and survival,” she said in the release. The exhibition is sponsored in part by Baldanza (whose mixed-bag kale salad is to die for, we’re told), New Canaan Wine Merchants (owned by wine-pairing expert Jeff Barbour), Karl Chevrolet (which recently donated equipment to youth baseball and softball programs in New Canaan), April Kaynor Homes, New Canaan Lions Club, Earth Garden and New Canaan Foreign Car.