Parks & Rec Recommends Locating Proposed Open-Air Ice Rink at Waveny

Parks officials this week voted to recommend that a proposed seasonal outdoor ice rink be located in Waveny. Based on the findings of a subcommittee, the Parks & Recreation Commission voted 10-0 in favor of trying out a winter “mini rink” in the parking lot that serves the Orchard Field softball diamonds. 

One commissioner abstained from voting during the April 14 meeting, held via videoconference. Commissioner Jake Granito, who helped lead the Ice Rink Committee, said the group looked in depth at three possible locations—tapping Public Works Director Tiger Mann, Parks Superintendent John Howe and Recreation Director Steve Benko for their expertise—and concluded that the Waveny site “is best suited for the town.”

It’s a large area that’s “also good because you have the grass fields behind it,” Granito said. “The bathrooms are right there. There’s still plenty of parking.

‘It Looks So Wonderful’: High Praise for First-Phase Work Done in Bristow Bird Sanctuary

The completed first phase in restoring a long-neglected and little-known bird sanctuary in New Canaan—one of the nation’s oldest—is earning high praise from town officials and visitors. Described as a quiet and beautiful wooded area, the Bristow Bird Sanctuary and Wildwood Preserve—thanks to volunteers and Department of Public Works personnel—features attractive new footbridges over meandering streams, a newly dredged pond, seating areas and varied bird feeders, officials said during last week’s meeting of the Parks & Recreation Commission. Responding to a presentation from Public Works Director Tiger Mann on the work that’s been done in Bristow in the past six months, Commissioner Francesca Segalas said, “It looks so wonderful.”

“I am so happy to see this,” she said during the meeting, held Jan. 13 via videoconference. 

Mann shared a photo walkthrough that he’d captured the same morning, starting at the northern end of the 17-acre bird sanctuary—accessible through Mead Park, at the back of the little league baseball fields—and following pedestrian trails toward its other entrance along Route 106. As he walked along, Mann said he found the park “very quiet.”

“I didn’t hear anything,” he said.

‘I Don’t Like It’: Parks Commissioner Voices Concerns Over Proposed Fee To Use Tennis Courts at NCHS

Calling it “clubby” and restrictive, a member of the Parks & Recreation Commission last week pushed back on a proposal to start charging residents for use of the tennis courts at New Canaan High School. Commissioner Francesca said the proposed $30 or $35 seasonal pass fee for the hard-surface courts means residents would have no public courts left to play tennis for free, such as Darien residents have in Cherry Lawn Park. “I don’t like it,” she said during the Commission’s regular meeting, held Jan. 13 via videoconference. “We have to pay for everything.

Parks & Rec: Tennis Court Usage Up Amid COVID-19 Emergency

Officials say they’ve seen a sharp rise among residents seeking passes to play tennis at Mead Park this summer. 

The town has sold 216 total passes compared to 144 last year, Parks & Recreation Commissioner Steve Haberstroh said during the appointed body’s regular meeting Wednesday. 

Within those figures, the number of adult passes has increased year-over-year from 59 to 115, while youth passes have increased from 17 to 42, Haberstroh said during the meeting, held via videoconference. 

“Likely due to COVID, people are interested in tennis again,” he said during an update on tennis activity. 

The courts at Mead Park and New Canaan High School both are seeing robust regular use, Haberstroh said. On good weather days, 35 to 45 courts are used daily at each location, he said. Starting May 10, the high school courts began requiring users to register ahead of time to use the courts and had an attendant there to ensure CDC and U.S. Tennis Association guidelines are followed, and 450 people signed up, Haberstroh said. The only user group buying fewer passes is seniors, down slightly from 65 in 2019 to 56 this summer, he said. The reason for the overall increase likely is that residents are looking to do outdoor sports and to social-distance amid the COVID-19 public health emergency, Parks & Rec commissioners said.