Pedestrian Barricades, Outdoor Dining Return To Downtown New Canaan with Warmer Weather

With snow from winter storms melted away in downtown New Canaan and warmer weather expected, public works officials this week re-installed barriers downtown that will allow for restaurants to expand their outdoor dining areas. Public Works Director Tiger Mann said Monday that the “barricades are back out, so the restaurants will be able to expand out.”

“It’s going to be absolutely beautiful for this week, 60 degrees by Thursday, so we are hoping there will be no snow,” Mann said during a regular meeting of the Selectmen’s Advisory Committee on Buildings and Infrastructure. Created last May in the early weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic, the water-filled barricades on Main, Elm and Forest Streets have allowed restaurants to expand onto the sidewalks while creating pedestrian walkways in the street. Laura Budd, executive director of the New Canaan Chamber of Commerce, said the organization was “pleased that as soon as all the snow melted and was taken away, the DPW crew cleaned up the streets and put the barriers back out.”

“It’s a team effort,” she said. “We saw the Fire Department filling them back up with water to make them protective.

Police Commission Votes 3-0 To Extend Outdoor Dining Set-Ups on Main and Elm through Feb. 17

The Police Commission last week voted unanimously to allow Main and Elm Street restaurants to keep their COVID-19 outdoor dining set-ups—where tables are out on sidewalks, and some pedestrian access ways dip behind barriers into the street—for another month. Created last May and extended periodically since then, the temporary sidewalk and parking configurations are designed to give more outdoor dining space to restaurants that have been under changing capacity restrictions since the onset of COVID-19 virus. (As of Nov. 6, under the governor’s order, they’re allowed no more than 50% capacity total between indoor and outdoor dining.)

“It’s more that the weather’s been great,” Commission Chair Paul Foley said at the appointed body’s Jan. 20 meeting, held via videoconference.

Five-Year New Canaan Police Veteran Assigned to ‘Downtown Beat’

A five-year veteran of the New Canaan Police Department will serve as the next officer assigned to patrol the downtown and build relationships with the businesses there. Officer Kelly Coughlin started in the role of Community Impact Officer or ‘CIO’ Jan. 1, according to Police Chief Leon Krolikowski. Established in 2014 following the armed robbery of a jewelry store on Elm Street—and filled in the past by Officers Roy Adams and Ron Bentley—the position has been cut for stretches of time in the past due to budget restrictions and staffing needs. In October, the People’s Bank on Main Street was robbed at gunpoint, and between two brazen daytime thefts in November, more than $7,000 in merchandise was stolen from Ralph Lauren on Elm Street.

Manuela Ramirez Lash & Brow Design Opens Downtown

Manuela Ramirez had been working in the beauty industry for four years when she opened her first brow and lash business. 

That was in 2017, three years before the onset of COVID-19, and the Mount Kisco, N.Y.-based location thrived. Despite the pandemic, when a hair stylist in New Canaan recently advised Ramirez that she should consider launching a location here in town because residents likely wouldn’t want to travel to Westchester County, the esthetician was open to the idea. “Nothing is going to last forever,” Ramirez told NewCanaanite.com on Sunday afternoon, hours before opening Manuela Ramirez Lash & Brow Design at 17 South Ave. 

“I feel like people need to understand that even though we are going through this crazy time, we can’t forget about doing things that make you feel good. You are still alive. The fact that you cannot see people and not be around family doesn’t mean you shouldn’t keep doing things that make you feel good, things you used to do.”

Opened by Ramirez and her mother, Lina, the business is taking bookings online for a wide range of lash and brow services, such as lash tints, treatments and extension removals, and brow lamination, microblading and men’s grooming, as well as waxing, training and bundled packages.

Police Commission Votes 3-0 To Extend Outdoor Dining Set-Ups Through Dec. 31

Members of the Police Commission voted unanimously this month to allow restaurants to keep their altered outdoor dining set-ups—where tables are pushed out onto sidewalks and new pedestrian access ways are created in the street—through year’s end. Created in May and extended periodically since then, the temporary sidewalk and parking configurations on Main, Elm and Forest Streets are designed to give additional outdoor dining space to restaurants that have been under changing capacity restrictions since the onset of COVID-19 virus. (Currently, under the governor’s order, they’re allowed no more than 50% capacity total between indoor and outdoor dining.)

Police Commission Chair Paul Foley, Secretary Jim McLaughlin and member Shekaiba Bennett voted 3-0 in favor of the extension during the Nov. 18 meeting, held via videoconference. Chef Luke Venner of elm restaurant, a guest at the meeting, said “anything helps at this point for us.”

“I think we had looked into the idea of having some sort of enclosure but at this point in the game I don’t know if that makes sense,” he said.