Town Approves $12,000 Contract for Design of Wetland Boardwalk at Irwin

Town officials this month approved a $12,000 contract with an Avon-based firm to design a proposed new boardwalk in Irwin Park. The Board of Selectmen voted 3-0 in favor of the contract with Richter & Cegan at its Feb. 7 meeting. 

The company had done “the original master plan and did the original Flexi-pave trail so they’re intimately involved or aware of the park itself,” Public Works Director Tiger Mann said at the meeting, held in Town Hall and via videoconference. He added that the boardwalk—planned for the southwest corner of the Weed Street park—had been part of the original larger plan but was removed for monetary reasons. “This was actually in the first part of the master plan that was there, and then when we did the trail work initially, we took that out as a ‘value engineering’ portion of the project,” Mann said.

Wetland Boardwalk Proposed for Irwin Park

Town officials on Tuesday approved a $13,300 contract with a local firm to do survey work at Irwin Park for a proposed wetland boardwalk. The Board of Selectmen voted 3-0 in favor of the contract with RKW Land Surveying during its regular meeting, held at Town Hall and via videoconference. 

The planned board was approved during the last budget season, according to Public Works Director Tiger Mann. “We had the area flagged for wetlands by William Kenny Associates,” he told the selectmen. “And we need to pick the flagging up and do some additional survey work and topographic work, things of that nature, of the area in concern.”

RKW had done the base mapping and original survey at the time New Canaan purchased the Irwin property, Mann said. 

“We’d like to engage them to do this work and then update that mapping,” he said. First Selectman Kevin Moynihan and Selectmen Kathleen Corbet and Nick Williams voted in favor of the contract. 

The selectmen asked whether the project had been considered for American Rescue Plan Act funding (no), why not (not sure), what is the total cost of the project when land surveying is included (the budget was about $175,000 but some is coming from DPW operating) and where the proposed wetlands boardwalk would go exactly (in the southwest corner of Irwin, mann said, “As you head up the hillside where the Flexi-pave trail is, you go past where the goats were and head up the hill, that area is wetlands in back”).

Rise in Crime: New Canaan Police Request $200,000-Plus To Boost Security in Parks, Downtown

Noting that the town is seeing a rise in crimes such as thefts at public parks and the business district, the chief of police is seeking $200,000-plus to bolster safety through a series of initiatives. The funds would be targeted toward improved security at Waveny ($25,000) and Irwin Parks ($75,000), as well as the downtown ($125,000), according to New Canaan Police Chief Leon Krolikowski. “Given the crime we have seen and the concerns expressed by our residents, I think it’s a perfect time for us to build on what’s been done and improve on it,” Krolikowski said during the Feb. 16 meeting of the Police Commission, held at police headquarters and via videoconference. New Canaan had “an unprecedented” number of motor vehicle thefts in 2021, Krolikowski said, something police are “very concerned about”—up to 39 last year, from 27 in 2020 and just 10 in 2019.

‘It’s a Nice Draw’: Weed-Eating Goats Return to Irwin Park

For the third year in a row, a well-loved park welcomed goats to a cordoned-off area in an effort to eliminate invasive weeds. Five goats, some of which are very young, arrived two weeks ago at Irwin Park, according to Public Works Director Tiger Mann. Eddie, Caramel, Cookie, and two unnamed goats will be living in the park through the summer, Garden Club member Alice Wyman said. Introduced to the Weed Street park two summers ago thanks to research by the New Canaan Garden Club, goats have “definitely helped to reduce [the weeds],” Mann said. 

Asked about why goats are used to eradicate invasive species, Mann said, “They’ll eat anything. They like poison ivy.”

“Goat herders say it’s like candy,” he added.

Goat in Irwin Park Gets Head Stuck in Fence

One of the goats at Irwin Park got its head stuck in a fence Sunday morning, prompting a passerby to phone authorities. 

Members of the New Canaan Fire Department responded to a call about the difficulty at about 9:31 a.m., according to dispatch records. According to Fire Capt. John Raidt, the goat in question—one of three brought in last summer to help rid the property of invasive plants—routinely gets its head stuck in the wire fence that forms a corral at the western end of the park. “That’s why they are not at the top of the food chain, but people do stupid things too,” Raidt said. By the time firefighters arrived, the goat had freed itself. “No special tools, no tactics,” Raidt said of the Fire Department’s rescue.