COVID-19: Two New Canaan YMCA Employees Working in Children’s Programs Test Positive 

Two employees of the New Canaan YMCA who work in children’s programs have tested positive for COVID-19 virus, officials said. In an email sent late Wednesday to Y members, the organization said one of the employees works in its “Kids Unlimited” after-school program and the other in the “Rainbow Station” childcare center. They last were at the South Avenue facility on Monday and Tuesday, respectively, the email said. “The affected Rainbow Station classroom and the Kids Unlimited classrooms will be closed for 14 days and will undergo an additional deep cleaning in accordance with the guidelines set by the [Connecticut] Office of Early Childhood,” the email said. It continued, “The teachers and participants of the Rainbow Station classroom and those who were in the Kids Unlimited program on Monday, October 12 have been advised by the New Canaan Health Department to self-quarantine and will not be using the Y for at least this 14-day period. Since reopening, both of these programs have been strictly following Office of Early Childhood guidelines, which are in place to help prevent transmission.”

The news comes as New Canaan continues to see new confirmed cases of COVID-19 virus.

Rec Director: ‘Non-Summer’ at Kiwanis Due to COVID, YMCA

The town couldn’t open Kiwanis Park to the public in the way it had planned this summer, officials say, not only because of the COVID-19 pandemic but also because a local organization that took over the Old Norwalk Road property for its own campers left it in sub-par condition. In years past, residents including Kiwanis pass-holders and Recreation Department campers, among others, have split use of the beach at the park’s swimming hole with the New Canaan YMCA. This year, citing space restrictions due to COVID-19, town officials approved a new lease that gave the Y exclusive weekday use of Kiwanis for its camp, limiting public access to 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Monday to Friday, and open use on weekends. As a result, “the summer was a non-summer,” according to Recreation Director Steve Benko, “because we ran into the COVID situation and we ended up leasing the whole complex to the Y.”

“That really affected the attendance,” Benko told members of the Town Council Land Use, Recreation and Conservation Committee during their Oct. 7 meeting, held via videoconference.

“Ride to Raise Awareness” #TDVAM

February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month. New Canaan YMCA will open its spinning studio for local youth to participate in a “Ride to Raise Awareness.” The ride, co-hosted by Domestic Violence Crisis Center will incorporate a fun, high-energy workout with some key facts about teen dating abuse prevention. The 45-minute spin is free to all area high school students with a valid school ID. Contact to reserve a bike.#TDVAM2020

YMCA Seeks To Expand Parking Lot by 20 Spaces

Saying it’s needed for pedestrian safety and to accommodate use during peak hours, the YMCA is seeking to expand a parking lot along the side of its South Avenue building by 20 spaces. Fewer than 5% of the Y’s current 247 space are available when the nonprofit organization is busiest, according to an application filed with the Planning & Zoning Commission. 

“Cars circling the parking lot looking for a parking space create an unsafe condition for pedestrians, many of them children, and may invite patrons to park on South Avenue or Putnam Road,” according to a letter that accompanied site plan and Special Permit applications filed on the Y’s behalf by attorney Ted O’Hanlan of Stamford-based Robinson+Cole. 

In approving the Y’s extensive renovation five years ago, P&Z noted that if more parking is needed, the organization should submit a site plan along those lines, O’Hanlan noted. 

“That time has arrived and is motivated by genuine concern for safety and convenience,” he said. “No increase in either programs or membership has motivated these applications.”

The application includes a traffic study that “clearly demonstrates that more on-site parking will better serve the YMCA’s existing parking demand.”

“The traffic analysis states that, because the YMCA is not adding any new programs, there will be no increase in trip generation to and from the property, and, therefore, no traffic impact on South Avenue and the surrounding street network,” O’Hanlan said. Plans call for 20 striped parking spaces on what the applicant is calling the “south side of the building,” running roughly parallel to Putnam Road. The spaces are to be used by Y staff and “as overflow parking for patrons.” Two new landscape islands with curbing are to be installed, along with a 6-foot-high wooden fence, forsythia hedge and access gate for emergency vehicles.