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.

‘Take Some Responsibility’: Officials Urge Mead Park Playground Visitors To Carry Trash Back Out

Town officials are urging Mead Park visitors to remove their trash from a newly installed playground area that came to be as a result of a successful public-private partnership. 

New Canaan is proud of the new playground and those that raised funds to help pay for the project, “and so I guess for me it’s just a public request, too: Whatever you take in, make sure you take it out, just like camping,” Parks & Recreation Chair Rona Siegel said during the appointed body’s regular meeting, held July 10 at Town Hall. 

“And there are trash cans near the concessions, near the driving area,” Siegel said. A collaboration between the town and Friends of Mead Park Playground–a private effort overseen by two New Canaan women that saw more than $200,000 raised thanks to scores of individual donors as well as generous local businesses and nonprofit organizations—the remade play area replaces aging, deteriorating equipment and includes a “poured-in-place” rubberized surface. After some weather-related delays, the playground was finished and ready for use prior to the Fourth of July, though almost immediately trash began collecting in the area. 

Parks Commissioner Jack Hawkins asked whether trash cans had been installed around the playground area itself. Told that they had not, he said, “Can we discuss tat and can we get some down there? I think having a trashcan available down there will help prevent littering.”

John Howe, superintendent of parks with the New Canaan Department of Public Works, said that before the town moved to a “carry in-carry out” policy, “we had much more garbage blowing around.”

“Blowing around the trash cans, anything from squirrels getting inside and chewing their way out, to ‘Well it’s close enough, it’s near the trash can,’ ” Howe said.

‘Taking Some Action’: Town Officials Move Forward with Proposal for Surveillance Cameras at Waveny Entrances

Following an online petition signed by more than 2,000 people, and acting on the advice of police, town officials said this week that they’re looking to install cameras to record motor vehicles entering and exiting Waveny Park. 

Parks and Public Works officials said during a subcommittee meeting Tuesday that the cost of installation might be around $25,000, for which they would likely request a special appropriation. The main purpose of the cameras will be to “show visibility of activity coming in and out of our parks,” Parks and Recreation Commission Chairman Rona Siegel said during a meeting of the appointed body’s Camera Subcommittee. The two-person subcommittee, which also includes Parks Commissioner Matt Konspore, discussed potential locations for the cameras, focusing on the three entrances to the park—one on South Avenue and two on Lapham Road, including near the Waveny Pool. “It would just be an extension of cameras at the entrances – not throughout the park,” Siegel said during the meeting, held at Town Hall. Those in attendance included Siegel and Konspore as well as Recreation Director Steve Benko, Public Works Director Tiger Mann and Parks Superintendent John Howe.