This week on “0684-Radi0,” our free podcast (subscribe here in iTunes), we talk to New Canaan resident Michael Chen. Known on the pickleball courts at Mead Park as “Hammer Mike,” he’s a co-founder of the rapidly growing National Pickleball League.
Members of the Board of Finance last week offered high praise for a fellow member of the appointed body who is stepping down after 15 years. Neil Budnick has been “a phenomenal counselor, partner, sounding board and thinker,” Board Chair Lavieri said during the group’s regular meeting held June 7 at Town Hall and via videoconference.
“You have added so much value to this board on all of the things you’ve done,” he said. “On anything you’ve done. And you always raise your hand, and you’re always willing to help and you always go the extra mile. Town pensions are overfunded, and there’s a lot of guidance there from the committee, yourself included, of course.
Joe Paladino hadn’t played softball in 10 years when he attended a friend’s party in 1999 and heard about New Canaan’s Rec Department summer league. He signed up, and five years later launched his own Paladino Construction team, working through some difficult and even winless early seasons before finally getting to .500 mark and consistently making the finals. “We considered ourselves the Buffalo Bills of New Canaan softball,” Paladino recalled. “We always got to dance but could never make the magic happen.”
Until recently. Last week, Paladino Construction bested a team called “The Firm” by a combined three-game score of 34-11 to capture its second straight league championship.
Municipal officials say they’ve seen a steep increase this fall and winter in the number of people playing platform or “paddle” tennis on New Canaan’s town-owned courts at Waveny Park. Revenues generated through selling permits and guest passes for the outdoor sport already have surpassed $70,000 for the paddle tennis season that started in early-October, compared to anticipated revenues of about $46,000, according to Recreation Director Steve Benko. In the past two paddle seasons, which run through mid-April, the town has taken in a total of about $56,000 (fiscal year 2020) and $46,000 (fiscal year 2019) in revenues, Benko told members of the Board of Finance Park & Recreation Budget Subcommittee during a regular meeting Monday. “Paddle is going crazy,” he said during the meeting, held via videoconference.
“We’ve had an outstanding year so far in paddle tennis. Our revenues are way up in paddle.
The appointed body charged with planning for a new police station will start by researching whether it’s more prudent to renovate or build anew on-site or elsewhere in town, members said Thursday. At their first meeting, members of the Police Department Building Committee noted that occupying a structure while it’s being renovated presents practical problems, and that it costs $1 million or more to move a large part of a police force into a separate facility temporarily during construction. Stuart Sawabini, a former Police Commission chair who is advising the Committee as director of New Canaan’s Community Emergency Response Team, said that if a suitable location could be found, “my personal choice would be to build new.”
“The efficiency of the building is far greater when you have spaces that are purpose-specific,” Sawabini said during the meeting, held via videoconference. “So building a new building means you are designing it with only the items you really want in it. As compared to renovating a building where there’s bound to be spaces that are allocated to a prior use which the Police Department may not be able to utilize.