Private Group Offers to Fund Re-Grading of Mellick, Gamble Fields at Mead Park

The private group that oversees youth baseball in New Canaan wants to fund a full re-grading of the little league fields at Mead Park—a project that could cost $1 million and hasn’t been done in 42 years, recreation officials say. New Canaan Baseball Softball Inc., a nonprofit organization, are at appoint where “serious capital expenditures” are needed to bring it up to snuff, the group’s president, Jim Higgins, told the Park & Recreation Commission at its most recent regular meeting. “To cut to the chase, Mellick and Gamble are long, long, long overdue for a major renovation and New Canaan Baseball is proposing to—out of our own money and money that we raised—spent somewhere between half a million and a million dollars, completely redoing Mellick and Gamble,” Higgins said at the March 11 meeting, held in the Douglass Room at Lapham Community Center. “When I say ‘redo,’ the footprint stays the same, we are not asking to change any aspect of the park, so the footprints of the fields will stay where they are. But we think the only way to do it right is to scrape the whole fields.

‘Not Looking Good at All’: Spring Sports Must Wait for Sodden Grass Fields To Dry

With snow on the ground and insufficient relief in the forecast, New Canaan’s grass playing fields won’t be ready for full practices and scrimmages as planned, parks officials say. While the turf fields at New Canaan High School are clear, the grass at Mead and Waveny won’t have a chance shed its moisture either into the groundwater or atmosphere in time, for example, for the varsity baseball team’s planned scrimmages during the final week of March, according to John Howe, parks superintendent. “It’s not looking good at all,” he said. “I don’t see much chance at all, unfortunately. We are ready as a department to get out there and move goals and lay out fields and paint them and move things up.”

Dunning Field and the turf field by the water tower are usable now, Howe said, but all baseball and softball fields, and those youth and high school field hockey, lacrosse and soccer teams that practice and play on grass likely won’t be able to do so for three weeks.

Parks Officials to NC Baseball: At Season’s End, Take Down the Outfield Windscreens at Mead

Parks officials last week approved a private group’s request to hang a windscreen on the outfield fence of the large baseball field at Mead Park, but are insisting that this time around the opaque netting come down at season’s end. That didn’t happen in the case of the little league fields at Mead that got the screens last spring, despite New Canaan Baseball’s agreeing to do so, Park & Recreation Commission Chairman Sally Campbell said during the group’s regular monthly meeting. The commission had received feedback that residents didn’t want to see the netting in the winter months, Campbell said during the meeting, held Wednesday in the Douglass Room at Lapham Community Center. “New Canaan Baseball said they would put them up and take them down last year, and they never came back to take them down last year,” she said. “So this windscreen, too, it needs to put up by [New Canaan] Baseball and taken down by X day by [New Canaan] Baseball and we should not have to go back to you all to say to take it down.

Parks Officials Approve Plan for Border Collies to Scare Geese out of Mead Park

Parks officials on Wednesday accepted a private group’s offer to pay a Wilton-based company about $3,000 to use border collies to run Canada geese off of the large baseball field at Mead Park this spring. The birds’ droppings are an “enormous problem” and baseball players are in regular contact with the fecal matter just in virtue of playing the game, Paul Giusti, who identified himself as representing Friends of New Canaan Baseball, told the Park and Recreation Commission at its regular monthly meeting. “I think all of you know it is really bad [for baseball players], let alone [for] the toddlers that are there that are crawling around in this and these geese are getting onto Mellick and Gamble also,” Giusti said at the meeting, held in the Douglass Room at Lapham Community Center. He was joined by Jim Higgins, president of New Canaan Baseball Softball Inc.

“We will do the first three months during the baseball season and see how this all works out. It’s not like it’s a bullet-proof kind of solution, but I think it will improve the situation for the toddlers, for the ballplayers, for everybody that is there to have a better experience at Mead Park.”

The commission approved the plan 8-0, breaking from its own policy of waiting one full month between a hearing a request or making a decision on it, citing the timing of the baseball season’s planned start in early April.

Faces of New Canaan: Gigi Fernandez and First Impressions


Gigi Fernandez understands athletic competition better than most: In her Hall of Fame tennis career, the Puerto Rico native won 17 Grand Slam doubles titles (fourth-most in the open era) and climbed into the top-20 as a singles player, competing in one Wimbledon semifinal and two U.S. Open quarterfinals. Fernandez, together with partner and former LPGA golfer Jane Geddes—who both work in Stamford, as Chelsea Piers director of tennis and senior vice president of talent relations and development at WWE, respectively—just closed on a New Canaan home not far from the Stamford line. In an interview with, Fernandez said the couple’s twins—who turn five next month—would enter the kindergarten at West School in the fall. Asked whether New Canaan kids may some day avail themselves of her youth coaching abilities—as they are now with former NFL quarterback Terry Hanratty and NBA standout Pat Garrity—Fernandez laughed and said: “Oh, I don’t know.  My son just went through the baseball tryouts for the town league, so he’ll be playing baseball. I opted not to coach.