Rec Director: Summer, Fall Special Events Bookings for Waveny House ‘Strong’

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, people already have shown strong interest in renting out Waveny House for weddings, parties and special events later this year, officials say. The town has seen “a strong rental” interest in the historic house starting at the end of July through October, according to Recreation Director Steve Benko. “We are booked every weekend for events, so hopefully we will be on the uptick and get through this pandemic and they can relax some of the restrictions they have,” Benko told members of the Parks & Recreation Commission during their Jan. 13 meeting, held via videoconference. The comments came during Benko’s update to the appointed body, in response to a question from Commissioner Hank Green about whether Waveny House has remained competitive as a wedding and special events venue.

Rec Director: Waveny Has Become the ‘Destination Park in Fairfield County’

With its parking lots filled to capacity and hundreds of people walking the trails, Waveny has become a “destination park” for all of Fairfield County, according to the town’s recreation director. Waveny “has been overwhelmed with visitors on weekends to walk the trails, walk the fields,” Steve Benko told members of the Parks & Recreation Commission at their Nov. 11 meeting, held via videoconference. “We have kind of become the destination park in Fairfield County. A lot of outside people coming through.

Commission Rejects ‘Pollinator Garden’ at Mead Park

The Parks & Recreation Commission on Wednesday night denied a request from local volunteers seeking permission to install pollinating plants on a traffic island at Mead Park. The “pollinator garden,” proposed for the traffic island near the little fields and entrance to the Mead Park Playground, was designed as part of a larger “pathway” serving butterflies, birds, bees and other insects and animals that move pollen from one plant to another. Several New Canaan organizations have been at work for more than one year to increase pollinator-friendly habitat here. Yet members of the appointed Parks & Rec Commission said they feared planting pollinator-friendly species at the traffic island would bring additional bee stings and motor vehicle traffic to a largely pedestrian area. 

“That’s just such a busy place in terms of automobile traffic,” Commissioner Hank Green said at the meeting, held via videoconference. “A lot of big SUVs, a lot of these cars are being driven by teens.

Rona Siegel Elected Chairman of Parks & Recreation Commission

The Parks & Recreation Commission on Wednesday night elected Rona Siegel as chairman of the advisory body. 

Voting 8-0 with two people abstaining, the Commission cast its vote during an organizational meeting at Town Hall, conducted by First Selectman Kevin Moynihan. 

Sally Campbell, who has served as Commission chairman since May 2013, said prior to nominating Siegel that she would remain in the group through the year but that she would not seek the chairmanship. 

“I think it’s time to move on,” Campbell said. “I have been chair for countless years and on the Commission for countless years. I have been very happy with how we work, our Commission, with each other, how we work with [Public Works Director] Tiger [Mann], who has been terrific, and John Howe with Parks and Steve [Benko] in Rec, and I think we made a big impact.”

Campbell continued, saying, “I think it’s time for a change and change is always good, so I just wanted to put that out there. And if I can I would make a recommendation for chair, that would be Rona Siegel. She came onto the Commission two years ago and she has been very impactful since then and there has been nothing that she’s taken on that she has not done brilliantly.

Town Officials Call for Less Conspicuous Garbage Dumpsters in Parks

Town officials said last week that they’re addressing an aesthetic problem whereby those entering local parks in some cases are accosted by the sight of garbage dumpsters. 

The town many years ago switched from trash cans dotted around fields at parks such as Waveny and Mead, to having dumpsters, according to Parks & Recreation Commission Chair Sally Campbell. That effort was “very critical to reducing the amount of trash on the fields and in our parks,” she said during the Commission’s regular meeting, held Oct. 10 at Lapham Community Center. 

“However, we find that every park we drive into we are verbally assaulted by City Carting on the dumpsters,” she said. The answer, according to Commissioner Hank Green, who has looked at how nearby towns handle their dumpsters, will involve putting up three-sided fencing around them. “It should be a pretty easy fix,” Green said.