Town Approves $10,000 Scoreboard Replacement in Waveny

Town officials last week approved the $10,000 purchase of a replacement scoreboard for a baseball field in Waveny. Named for Joe Coppo, one of three New Canaan men killed in the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, Coppo Field is located near the water towers and Lapham Community Center. 

The new scoreboard, which will include LED technology, is the “next-to-last scoreboard replacement we have at this time,” according to John Howe, parks superintendent with the New Canaan Department of Public Works. 

The last one is for the varsity baseball field at Mead Park, he told members of the Board of Selectmen at their regular meeting, held July 21 via videoconference. 

“And then the only other place where we really need to put a scoreboard in some time—but that’s a separate item, it would not be a replacement—would be up at the Water Tower, the new turf field number two,” he said. “It would be great to have a scoreboard up there.”

First Selectmen Kevin Moynihan and Selectmen Kit Devereaux and Nick Williams voted 3-0 to approve the $10,124 purchase from East Haddam-based Northeast Scoreboards. Regarding a new scoreboard for the turf field, Moynihan said, “It would be nice to have a donation for that.”

Howe said Recreation Director Steve Benko had received money from a local charity and would earmark some for the purchase.

Selectmen Approve $31,240 Contract for Weeding and Pruning at 10 Town Buildings

Town officials last week approved a contract with a local landscaping company for pruning and weeding around 10 public buildings in New Canaan. The Board of Selectmen voted 3-0 in favor of the $31,240 contract with Gregg’s Garden Center on Grove Street. 

The town typically does a round of spring weeding in early April, but held off this year given that nearly all municipal buildings are closed, according to John Howe, parks superintendent with the Department of Public Works. “With that said, it has increased the amounts a little bit, but it has also avoided a second springtime weeding of the beds,” Howe told the selectmen at their regular meeting, held June 2 via videoconference. He added that the $4,000 contingency included in the contract is higher than in years past “due to the fact that the weeds are growing so rapidly right now.”

Skipping the April work likely will result in a break-even for the town, Howe said. The current fiscal year’s budget includes $65,000 for this type of work, Howe said.

Budget Cuts: Town To Reduce Funding for Landscaping Work Around Several Public Buildings

Town officials are looking to cut back on landscaping work around a handful of public buildings, including Vine Cottage, Powerhouse Theater, Carriage Barn Arts Center, Saxe Middle School and New Canaan High School. The proposed budget for next fiscal year removes about $15,000 paid annually to outside contractors in recent years for more frequent weeding and mulching that the Parks & Recreation Commission had pushed for, including during “spring cleanups.”

John Howe, parks superintendent in the Department of Public Works, told members of the Commission during their Jan. 8 meeting, “The hard part I see is that we have been able to have these buildings look great throughout the year.”

“And we are kind of going backwards,” he said at the meeting, held in Town Hall. “Are we in better shape now than we were five years ago? Yes, by a long shot.”

The cutbacks come as the Board of Finance guides municipal departments to reduce operating costs by 2%.

Parks Chief: Goats Pulled ‘A Little Bit Early’ from Irwin

Though the goats installed at Irwin Park did well in their first summer of chewing up invasive plants, the animals appear to have been pulled from their work just a little too soon, officials said. The five goats who arrived at Irwin in July under a town-approved contract went to work immediately on the invasives and especially Japanese Knotweed, which had grown so high it encroached on the Flexi-pave path at the western end of the park, officials said. “There is a lot of knotweed that came back, a lot of stuff was growing again,” Parks Superintendent John Howe said during the Oct. 16 meeting of the Parks & Recreation Commission, held at Lapham Community Center. “I think they pulled them a little bit early.”

The Board of Selectmen in June approved a $10,200 contract with Rhinebeck, N.Y.-based Green Goats to have the goats work at Irwin this year, with funds provided by the New Canaan Garden Club.