New Access Road Connecting NCHS To Waveny Proposed, Including Parking Expansion

Saying New Canaan High School students already park in the area, town officials are proposing a new access road that will be flanked by parking, connecting the southernmost NCHS lot with an unpaved lot that will be improved and expanded to offer even more spaces. The new access road would run along the same line laid out by the pedestrian path that led to the former Summer Theatre of New Canaan site in Waveny Park and could be gated at either end for specific hours to control vehicular access to the high school, according to Public Works Director Tiger Mann. 

As it is, the unmilled parking area closest to the water towers yields about 25 parking spaces, or 40 when motorists pull onto the grass and in among trees that flank it, Mann told members of the Parks & Recreation Commission at their most recent meeting. “So the thought was to try and basically make the parking a little bit more uniform and maximize the amount of space that we have and maximize the amount of parking,” he said during the Commission’s March 13 meeting, held at Town Hall. “It’s not going to draw more cars—they are already here in the park—we want them not to park so haphazardly, on the grass and the canopy not under trees, compacting the soil and preventing air and water from getting to the trees and killing the trees.”

The plan would yield about 75 new spaces, he said. In addition, the expanded parking and improved ingress and egress to the the high school would improve emergency vehicle access to the campus, and would help serve new turf athletic fields that town officials envision using as a revenue source by hosting regional sports events, Mann said.

Waveny Pond Dredging, New Observation Deck and Trail Coming This Summer

Town officials say they plan to dredge Waveny Pond this summer and install amenities including an observation deck and new elevated walkway trail under the widely anticipated centerpiece of a public-private partnership. 

The pond in the past has filled in with sediment that’s reduced its inflow and led to algae blooms, Public Works Director told members of the Parks & Recreation Commission during their March 13 meeting at Town Hall. Under a project that’s expected to cost New Canaan about $170,000 with at least that much to be paid additionally by the Waveny Park Conservancy, the town will dredge the pond to a depth of about eight feet, Mann said. The pond’s outflow structure is in good contain and will receive new railings that used to line a pedestrian path near South Avenue. “We will add that railing around as a barrier to anyone to prevent them from falling in, so it will give us a little continuity between the pond dredging and the trails and Waveny itself,” Mann said. Unveiled more than three years ago, plans for Waveny Pond have undergone multiple iterations.

Parks Officials Propose Lower Rates for Mead Park Tennis Permits, Non-Resident Option

Saying lower rates could increase use of a public facility that’s seen a decline in interest, town officials last week voted unanimously to recommend a new slate of fees for Mead Park tennis permits. Parks & Recreation Commissioner Steve Haberstroh, a member of the appointed body’s Tennis Committee, said the reduced fees and introduction of a new type of permit for non-residents are part of a multi-pronged approach to reinvigorating interest in tennis in New Canaan. Officials also pare planning to create new and better programming at Mead Park tennis courts, he said during the Commission’s March 13 meeting. Haberstroh noted that officials must have clean data on facility use in hand in order to make decisions about the courts—for example, whether some of them should be re-purposed. “We want a robust tennis program and so we’ve started to do work understand what is going on,” Haberstroh said during the meeting, held at Town Hall.

Rona Siegel Elected Chairman of Parks & Recreation Commission

The Parks & Recreation Commission on Wednesday night elected Rona Siegel as chairman of the advisory body. 

Voting 8-0 with two people abstaining, the Commission cast its vote during an organizational meeting at Town Hall, conducted by First Selectman Kevin Moynihan. 

Sally Campbell, who has served as Commission chairman since May 2013, said prior to nominating Siegel that she would remain in the group through the year but that she would not seek the chairmanship. 

“I think it’s time to move on,” Campbell said. “I have been chair for countless years and on the Commission for countless years. I have been very happy with how we work, our Commission, with each other, how we work with [Public Works Director] Tiger [Mann], who has been terrific, and John Howe with Parks and Steve [Benko] in Rec, and I think we made a big impact.”

Campbell continued, saying, “I think it’s time for a change and change is always good, so I just wanted to put that out there. And if I can I would make a recommendation for chair, that would be Rona Siegel. She came onto the Commission two years ago and she has been very impactful since then and there has been nothing that she’s taken on that she has not done brilliantly.