Private Group Seeks Permission to Display Advertising in Makeshift Ice Rink at Public Park

Parks officials are seeking permission from New Canaan’s legislative body to forgo enforcement of a local ordinance that prohibits advertising in public parks. The Parks & Recreation Commission voted at its meeting last week in favor of allowing a private group to run “dashboard” ads inside a makeshift ice rink that’s planned for Waveny. 

Though the advisory Parks & Rec Commission supported allowing the ads last year—despite concerns voiced then-Recreation Director Steve Benko—the discussion never was vetted by the Town Council because the makeshift rink itself never materialized. Gene Goodman—a principal of the private group behind the rink, NC Rink Inc, according to Connecticut Secretary of the State records—said the ads themselves would be six feet wide by 2.5 feet high. “If you were standing at the perimeter of the dasher boards which will be about four feet high or so, you will be able to see it,” Goodman said during the Nov. 9 Parks & Rec meeting, held in Lapham Community Center.

Rec Department To Relaunch After-School Programs at the Schools

The town’s Recreation Department plans to relaunch its after-school programs at New Canaan Public Schools following an unexpected lapse this fall, officials say. The municipal department “for years has been doing after-school programs at mainly the elementary schools but also Saxe,” according to Parks & Recreation Director John Howe. But due to a mistake or misunderstanding, “Whatever you want to call it,” Howe said, “we didn’t do them this fall.”

“There has been some outcry from parents, talking to the superintendent of schools, they’d like us back, and so we’re shooting to go back to do parent conferences which are at the beginning of December,” Howe told members of the Parks & Recreation Commission during their regular meeting, held Wednesday at Town Hall and via videoconference. “We’ll have outside contractors go in there to run some programs just to keep the kids busy, and then back in January, we’re planning on being right back in the schools, running programs.”

Howe spoke during his regular monthly update to the Commission. In addressing Parks & Rec, he also reported that the restoration work on the gazebo at Waveny has been completed and came out very well, that part of the dog run at Waveny has been closed off for re-seeding and will reopen in the spring, reviewed some of the Rec Department’s popular Halloween-themed events and said next year’s Color Drop fundraiser for the New Canaan High School Scholarship Foundation will be held March 25.

‘Leave of Absence’: Moynihan Seeks to Retain Parks & Rec Commissioner After Second Domestic Arrest

New Canaan’s highest elected official is seeking to retain a Parks & Recreation Commission member on the appointed body following the latter’s second arrest in one year in a domestic incident, records show. First Selectman Kevin Moynihan is asking whether Commissioner Jack Hawkins could take a “leave of absence” instead of stepping down from Parks & Rec following the latter’s May 11 arrest for disorderly conduct, according to emails obtained through a public records request. The Town Charter “provides that Parks and Rec shall have no fewer than 7 and no more than 11 members,” Moynihan said in a May 23 email sent to Parks & Rec Chair George Benington and Tucker Murphy, a staffer in the first selectman’s office. “I don’t know if there is precedent for leaves of absence on boards and commissions,” Moynihan continued in the email, adding that he was copying in the Town Clerk’s office for clarification. 

The email string followed a May 23 inquiry from regarding Hawkins’s status on the Commission. Weapons removed from home

New Canaan Police Chief Leon Krolikowski forwarded the following police report on Hawkins’s latest arrest to Human Resources Director Cheryl Pickering Jones at 7:49 a.m. on May 12, according to the emails obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request.

Dedication of ‘Steve Benko Pool’ Set for Saturday, June 4

Town officials this month voted unanimously to approve a June 4 ceremony to honor and memorialize one of New Canaan’s most recognizable, well-liked and dedicated residents. The Parks & Recreation Commission at its May 11 meeting voted 7-0 to approve a plan to dedicate the “Steve Benko Pool” in Waveny on the morning of Saturday, June 4. “I think it’s wonderful,” Chair George Benington said during the meeting, held at Town Hall and via videoconference. “Steve Karl and Robin [Bates Mason] have worked really hard to put this together.”

Benko died Feb. 12 after a brief battle with cancer.