Weed and Elm: Officials Counsel Opponents of Proposed Affordable Housing Development on Permissions To Use Public Parks 

Town officials say they’ve asked the organizers of a recent gathering in Irwin Park to follow municipal guidelines for such events in the future. According to Parks & Recreation Chair George Benington, officials were “scrambling” on the night of Friday, March 25 after learning of a potentially large meet-and-greet scheduled to be held on the afternoon of March 27 in the Weed Street park. Located near the barn at Irwin, the gathering was created “to discuss the whole Weed Street project with Karp,” Benington told members of Parks & Rec at their regular meeting, held Wednesday night at Lapham Community Center. He referred to opposition to developer Arnold Karp’s plan for a 102-unit affordable housing project planned for the northeast corner of Weed and Elm Streets. “The initial reports that we had were potentially 1,000 attending and we quickly contacted the organizer who assured us that was not the case, and 150 in reality there was only 30 or 40 people there on that Sunday afternoon,” Benington said.

Caffeine & Carburetors Founder Seeks October Date in Waveny

The New Canaan founder of a popular car show is seeking permission from the town to hold an event in Waveny this fall. Doug Zumbach, owner of the eponymous coffee shop on Pine Street, said he’s hoping to book a Waveny installation of Caffeine & Carburetors for Oct. 16, or if not then the following weekend or the one after that. 

“There are, I know, other activities proposed,” Zumbach told members of the Parks & Recreation Commission at their Jan. 12 meeting, held via videoconference. “I haven’t really been able to secure final dates on some of these, but the first choice I would have would be October 16th in the park.”

Yet town officials say they need to wait for the district to confirm whether the parking lots at New Canaan High School could be used by C&C attendees, or if there’s SAT training or testing.

‘You Have Been Exceptional’: High Praise for Rona Siegel as Parks & Rec Chairmanship Turns Over

Members of the Parks & Recreation Commission offered high praise at their most recent meeting for Chair Rona Siegel as the leadership for the appointed body turned over in a close election. Parks & Rec chair for the past three years, Siegel has been “exceptional, just exceptional” in the role, Commissioner Hank Green said during the group’s Jan. 12 meeting, held via videoconference. “Your commitment, the time you’ve put in, your mastery of the issues—on behalf for town, thank you,” Green said. Siegel was elected chair of Parks & Rec in March 2019, succeeding fellow Democrat Sally Campbell in the role.

Rule-Breakers Prompt Town To Install New Sign at Dog Park Regarding Prohibition on Young Children

Saying some of those who use the dog run at Waveny are breaking a rule that prohibits young children from entering the fenced-in area, officials are planning to install an even more explicit sign there. This wording already appears on a “Rules of the Dog Park” sign outside Spencer’s Run: “Children under five are prohibited from entering Spencer’s Run—no exceptions. This is for the protection of the children.”

Yet recently, Parks & Recreation Commissioner George Benington said, when he’s gone to the popular dog run “there have been some not-so-bright adults who have been bringing in some of their toddlers.”

Addressing the full Commission during its Nov. 10 meeting, Benington asked whether a dedicated sign saying “No children under the age of five” could be posted at the gated entrance to Spencer’s Run. “One mother gives us some pushback in there,” he said at the meeting, held via videoconference. 

Recreation Director Steve Benko said that although the rules of the park are spelled out on the gate, people don’t read them.

Parks Officials Propose Children’s Playground Area at Waveny 

Parks officials on Wednesday voted in favor of requesting funds for next fiscal year to update the fitness area at Waveny while also creating a children’s playground area. 

Located just below the main road through Waveny, next to the parking lot that serves the “Orchard Field” softball diamond, the all-abilities fitness station has equipment that will need to be replaced in a few years, according to Parks Superintendent John Howe. Many kids already use that equipment “even though it’s not age-appropriate for them,” and the area is large and flat enough to get a poured-in-place surface not only for the fitness area but also for new playgrounds for younger children, Howe told members of the Parks & Recreation Commission at their regular meeting. “We feel strongly that a playground would really round out recreation at Waveny Park,” Howe said during the meeting, held via videoconference. “We would say that we need to put a fence just so that kids would not be able to go into the roadway from there. But we could make a wooden fence similar to down at Mead Park where it would blend into the surrounding woods and everything else.”

Commission Chair Rona Siegel and members Carl Mason, Francesca Segalas, Steve Haberstroh, Hank Green, Gene Goodman, Laura Costigan, George Benington and Jack Hawkins voted unanimously in favor of a future funding request.