Weed and Elm: Officials Counsel Opponents of Proposed Affordable Housing Development on Permissions To Use Public Parks 

Town officials say they’ve asked the organizers of a recent gathering in Irwin Park to follow municipal guidelines for such events in the future. According to Parks & Recreation Chair George Benington, officials were “scrambling” on the night of Friday, March 25 after learning of a potentially large meet-and-greet scheduled to be held on the afternoon of March 27 in the Weed Street park. Located near the barn at Irwin, the gathering was created “to discuss the whole Weed Street project with Karp,” Benington told members of Parks & Rec at their regular meeting, held Wednesday night at Lapham Community Center. He referred to opposition to developer Arnold Karp’s plan for a 102-unit affordable housing project planned for the northeast corner of Weed and Elm Streets. “The initial reports that we had were potentially 1,000 attending and we quickly contacted the organizer who assured us that was not the case, and 150 in reality there was only 30 or 40 people there on that Sunday afternoon,” Benington said.

‘You Have Been Exceptional’: High Praise for Rona Siegel as Parks & Rec Chairmanship Turns Over

Members of the Parks & Recreation Commission offered high praise at their most recent meeting for Chair Rona Siegel as the leadership for the appointed body turned over in a close election. Parks & Rec chair for the past three years, Siegel has been “exceptional, just exceptional” in the role, Commissioner Hank Green said during the group’s Jan. 12 meeting, held via videoconference. “Your commitment, the time you’ve put in, your mastery of the issues—on behalf for town, thank you,” Green said. Siegel was elected chair of Parks & Rec in March 2019, succeeding fellow Democrat Sally Campbell in the role.

Rule-Breakers Prompt Town To Install New Sign at Dog Park Regarding Prohibition on Young Children

Saying some of those who use the dog run at Waveny are breaking a rule that prohibits young children from entering the fenced-in area, officials are planning to install an even more explicit sign there. This wording already appears on a “Rules of the Dog Park” sign outside Spencer’s Run: “Children under five are prohibited from entering Spencer’s Run—no exceptions. This is for the protection of the children.”

Yet recently, Parks & Recreation Commissioner George Benington said, when he’s gone to the popular dog run “there have been some not-so-bright adults who have been bringing in some of their toddlers.”

Addressing the full Commission during its Nov. 10 meeting, Benington asked whether a dedicated sign saying “No children under the age of five” could be posted at the gated entrance to Spencer’s Run. “One mother gives us some pushback in there,” he said at the meeting, held via videoconference. 

Recreation Director Steve Benko said that although the rules of the park are spelled out on the gate, people don’t read them.

Parks & Rec: Tennis Permits Up 70% in 2021

Sales of Mead Park tennis permits are up 70% year-over-year, officials say. The New Canaan Recreation Department had sold 473 permits in 2021 as of the Sept. 8 meeting of the Parks & Recreation Commission, according to Commissioner George Benington. The figure compares to 277 in 2020 and 142 “so we can obviously see the post-COVID effects, or COVID effects, are having a huge impact on our facilities,” Benington said at the meeting, held via videoconference. 

“The numbers speak for themselves,” he said. “They’re absolutely phenomenal.”
The comments came during update from Benington on the town’s tennis, platform or “paddle” tennis and recently opened pickleball facilities.