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.
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 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.
Sales of Mead Park tennis permits are up 70% year-over-year, officials say. The New Canaan Recreation Department had sold 473 permits in 2021 as of the Sept. 8 meeting of the Parks & Recreation Commission, according to Commissioner George Benington. The figure compares to 277 in 2020 and 142 “so we can obviously see the post-COVID effects, or COVID effects, are having a huge impact on our facilities,” Benington said at the meeting, held via videoconference.
“The numbers speak for themselves,” he said. “They’re absolutely phenomenal.”
The comments came during update from Benington on the town’s tennis, platform or “paddle” tennis and recently opened pickleball facilities.
The town should consider helping more with upkeep for an increasingly popular facility in Waveny Park, officials say. The volunteers who created and maintain the Waveny Disc Golf Course on the west side of Lapham Road have taken care of mowing, brush-cutting, fallen tree-clearing and tee and trail maintenance since its inception in 2007, according to Parks & Recreation Commissioner Carl Mason. They also increased the number of holes on the free public course from 12 to the standard 18 last year, he said. “I think we need to start thinking about what it would take for the Parks Department to take care of some of the maintenance here,” Mason told fellow commissioners during their regular meeting, held Sept. 8 via videoconference.