The town should remove funds earmarked to replace fencing around a playground at Kiwanis Park and relocate the equipment there to Waveny Pool, New Canaan’s highest elected official said last week. The playground at Kiwanis is “used very little,” according to First Selectman Kevin Moynihan. “Maybe a little bit by the neighborhood,” Moynihan said during a press briefing held Thursday in his office at Town Hall. “But it should be moved over to Waveny where the kids at the pool could go to an adjacent playground.”
He added: “You could build it so that there is a gate from the playground from the pool. A lot of the kids are at the pool.
Months after ridding a town-owned home in Kiwanis Park of its tenants, First Selectman Kevin Moynihan disclosed Tuesday that the structure could be used for New Canaan YMCA summer camp operations under a new public-private partnership.
The Y has “a very vibrant activity there, and we are in discussions with them about having them take over the house which is now vacated,” Moynihan said during the Board of Selectmen’s regular meeting, held at Town Hall.
“Also, the YMCA could perhaps accommodate some of these smaller activities to supervise that [with] lifeguards of theirs, so it could become more of a public-private partnership to use the park,” he continued. Addressing parks officials during a presentation of the Recreation Department’s budget, Moynihan added, “We really don’t need to maintain a facility [at Kiwanis]. We are accommodating out-of-towners at the [Waveny] pool, basically to supplement the budget. And we probably don’t need to do that any more because the pool has really become very active. So the discussion is, do we really want to maintain what in my view is an outdated facility or do we want to try to resuscitate it?”
In order to meet a Board of Finance operating budget guideline for municipal departments of -2%, “you have to figure out which activities we cease doing and cut back, and everything can’t be done in one year,” he said.
Attendance at Kiwanis increased by more than 40% last summer and the park potentially could more than cover costs associated with its operation, officials said last week. Kiwanis Park “is not fully being used for what it should be,” according to Parks & Recreation Commission Chair Rona Siegel. “The facility is incredible inside that concession,” Siegel said during the Commission’s regular meeting, held Jan. 8 at Town Hall. “It is restaurant-grade for the summer and spring months.
Parks officials on Wednesday voted unanimously to recommend a $25 increase to the fee nonresidents pay for season family passes to Waveny Pool.
The increase would bring to $1,250 the fee paid by nonresident families for one of 100 nonresident passes that are sold following a lottery.
Here’s a look at the Parks & Recreation Commission’s proposed fees:
Those voting in favor at the Commission’s regular meeting at Town Hall included Chair Rona Siegel, Carl Mason, Jack Hawkins, Laura Costigan, Francesca Segalas, Doug Richardson, Matt Konspore, Steve Haberstroh, Hank Green and Gene Goodman. Commissioner Sally Campbell, attending her last meeting as a member of the appointed body, did not indicate a vote either way. Residents, with the exception of those using nanny passes, may purchase a book of 10 guest passes for $80. The town-owned, self-sustaining Waveny Pool is open each year from Memorial Day through Labor Day. Recreation Director Steve Benko noted that the Commission had adjusted some of the resident fees last year.
“The individual fee was a little low” prior to last year, Benko said.
Town officials said Tuesday they’re trying to identify just where in Kiwanis Park would be the best place for a proposed open-air ice rink.
A leading contender for a seasonal rink site in New Canaan that would be open to the public with an admission charge, Kiwanis is attractive in that it has sufficiently large areas, parking, access to bathrooms, running water and electricity, and structures that could house changing areas, snack bar and skate shop, members of the Parks & Recreation Commission have said. Yet a level area out front of the main pavilion traditionally has been used by a local service organization for a large chunk of the late-November-through-February trial season that Parks & Rec has floated.
And early cost estimates to level out an area behind the pavilion and install a retaining wall there appear cost-prohibitive, a group of town officials and community volunteers said during a meeting of a Parks & Rec subcommittee. It’s also unclear whether installing the ice rink deeper into the park—on the far side of the swimming hole—would create a sufficiently attractive and workable facility, officials said during the Parks & Rec skating subcommittee meeting. While excavation, fill, retaining wall construction and other costs would push the total expense for an ice rink located between the rear of the pavilion and swimming hole to an estimated $200,000 to $250,000, creating a facility out front of the building, where the Exchange Club of New Canaan in past years has set up its approximately month-long Christmas tree sale would be far less money, official said. Rona Siegel, chair of Parks & Rec, asked whether the club had ever looked at setting up its sale in the Waveny Pool parking lot instead.
“It’s ideal,” Siegel said at the meeting, held in a conference room at Town Hall.