Jeff Speck Toward a More Walkable New Canaan

National planning expert Jeff Speck has spent his career studying what makes cities thrive and has boiled it down to one key factor: walkability. From economists, epidemiologists, and environmentalists to preservationists, planners, and parents, all agree that walkable communities are better in just about every way. Speck explains why walking is useful, particularly regarding land-use, zoning, transit, and parking, and then focuses on how, by sharing examples of places where walking is safe, comfortable, and interesting.

Letter: Garden Club Completes Master Plan for Irwin Park

Dear Editor,

Since opening as a park in 2005, Irwin Park has been seen as a sanctuary where residents and our neighbors can walk, jog, ride bicycles, picnic and even cross-country ski. The New Canaan Garden Club, as stewards of the Park, recently completed a ten-year Master Plan for the park with Stimson Landscape Architects from Cambridge, MA. Stimson recently was awarded the 2021 Landscape Architecture Firm award from the American Society of Landscape Architects and their Master Plan will provide the road map for the future of the Park. The NCGC Irwin Park Committee presented this Master Plan to the Parks and Recreation Commission at their February meeting and received conceptual approval for two agreed upon priorities. The first project would be to create a terraced lawn seating on the existing hillside west of the Gores Pavilion as a natural location for informal gatherings, lectures or small groups of classes.

Upcycled Yard Clippings and a Can-Do Attitude: How to Make the Holidays Happen in New Canaan [VIDEO]

It would be undoubtedly easy to order our town’s holiday decorations from a big box store or, gasp, the Internet. Surely there’s an iPhone app somewhere where one can pick a look, pay through the nose for rush installation, and find oneself walking through a ready-made winter wonderland. Santa in an Uber, and all that. 

But isn’t it reassuring to know that New Canaan will never do it that way? 

In early December, for the past five decades, the New Canaan Beautification League and the New Canaan Garden Club have partnered to hold our town’s Holiday Greens Workshop at the Nature Center. Several dozen volunteers from both clubs make many of our town’s holiday decorations from scratch, upcycling pruned branches and clippings into the extra-large bespoke wreaths you’ll spot on our town’s municipal buildings throughout December. Trees and shrubs like white pine, holly, ilex, juniper, and spruce can benefit from pruning at this time of year, so generous members, private tree services, and our town’s Parks department gather and donate a bounty that befits New Canaan’s holiday spirit.

Podcast: Final Summer of the Irwin Park Goats

This week on 0684-Radi0, our free podcast (subscribe here in the iTunes Store), we talk to Wendy Dewey of the New Canaan Garden Club. Together with Alice Wyman, Wendy is co-chair of the club’s Conservation Committee, and is one of the people responsible for the Irwin Park goats project. Introduced two summers ago to a cordoned-area at the western end of the park, the goats have been grazing on invasive plants, and their three summers of work will wrap up in September. We talk to Wendy about what prompted the Garden Club to get the goats, the job the goats have done and what’s planned for the area. Here are recent episodes of 0684-Radi0: