Five ‘Pickleball’ Courts To Replace Hard-Surface Tennis Area at Mead Park

Town officials say they’re converting a standalone hard-surface public tennis court at Mead Park into a series of “pickleball” courts for use by New Canaan residents. Located up behind the collonade on the western edge of Mead, a tennis practice wall area also will be converted into a a pickle ball court so there will be five in total, under a plan that’s expected to go before the Board of Selectmen later this month, according to Public Works Director Tiger Mann. “The overall thought is to redo that hard court at the top, take away the trees that are along the railroad tracks, since they are damaging most of it, resurface or put an entire post-tension concrete surface below, surface the top of it, put in new fencing and then some additional trees in the back just as a buffer to soften the look along the railroad tracks,” Mann told members of the Parks & Recreation Commission at their regular meeting, held March 10 via videoconference. 

The practice wall will remain with a pickleball court lined out on what will be the new post-tension concrete surface that will bring it up to the same grade/level as the other four, Mann said while showing schematics drawn up by West Haven-based Hinding Tennis LLC. Asked when he’d like to start the project, Mann said, “Now.” Once the concrete for the surface is poured, it takes about three weeks to cure, according to Recreation Director Steve Benko. Pickleball is a “paddleball sport” of two to four players “that combines elements of badminton, table tennis, and tennis,” according to Wikipedia.

Town To Fix Problem Where Foul Balls Strike Vehicles at Mead Park

Town officials last week voted in favor of a $6,735 contract for a design improvement at Mead Park that’s expected to address the decades-old problem of baseball striking parked cars. The work of redoing the backstop on the varsity baseball field and some fencing around it is expected to cost a total of about $80,000, according to Public Works Director Tiger Mann. During its regular meeting May 19, the Board of Selectmen approved a contract with Avon-base Richter & Cegan Inc. to “give us a design to help us with the layout of that area, of the backstop itself and the fencing to try and protect and prevent balls from leaving the playing field,” Mann said. “It’s been a problem for a very long time with the layout of this backstop,” Mann told the selectmen at the meeting, held via videoconference. 

First Selectman Kevin Moynihan and Selectmen Kit Devereaux and Nick Williams voted 3-0 in favor of the contract. 

Foul balls struck down the right-field line at the large field often fly over a fence and onto cars in Mead’s main lot—a problem that was mitigated somewhat though not entirely with a new parking configuration.  

The selectmen asked Mann whether the project had been discussed during budget season (in years past, yes), whether funds for the work were in this year’s budget (yes), in which direction the balls are flying (toward the parking lot) and whether the concern was vehicles.

Selectman Williams: Concerns About Waveny Park Safety Have Been ‘Politicized’

A town official on Tuesday voiced concerns about the characterization of New Canaan’s most heavily used park as unsafe. Saying he believed that some of the talk around town about the safety of Waveny Park was “misguided a bit,” Selectman Nick Williams raised the issue during the Board of Selectmen’s regular meeting, held at Town Hall. While saying that he was “in favor of safety,” Williams asserted that “Waveny is one of the best parks in America and one of the safest parks in America.” Speaking during a section of the Board’s agenda dedicated to general town matters, Williams said that suggestions to the contrary were “perhaps politicized,” but was not specific about how. “I think it’s unfortunate that people are talking about Waveny as if it’s Central Park in the 1970s,” Williams said.

‘A Safe Place To Nest’: Local Teen’s Project Aims To Help New Canaan Bats

A local teen’s Girl Scout Gold Award project has seen the creation and installation of nesting habitats in three New Canaan parks for a largely misunderstood and threatened mammal. Celia Sokolowski, a 2019 graduate from New Canaan High School has hung five bat houses in trees at Kiwanis, Mead and Waveny Parks. 

A Girl Scout since the first grade, Sokolowski completed the project for her Gold Award, the highest achievement possible in the organization. To receive a Gold Award, candidates must complete 80 hours of service, Sokolowski said. She added that the project must be sustainable, and it must educate the public on an issue the candidate is passionate about. Sokolowski, who is headed to Indiana University in the fall to study business, had the idea to hang the bat houses after taking an AP environmental science class during her senior year at NCHS.