Foul Balls Crash into Two Windshields at Mead Park; Netting Around Backstop, Foul Lines Raised

Workers last week extended upwards the netting around a newly turfed little league baseball field at Mead Park, days after two foul balls went sailing into the lot behind it and crashed into the windshields of cars parked there. The backstop at Mellick Field was shifted back as part of a public-private project that also saw the infields of both Mellick and Gamble Fields turfed for the start of this season, officials said. It used to be that part of the backstop at Mellick jutted over home plate so that some pop ups hit it and bounced down, Recreation Director Steve Benko said when asked about the need to make the netting higher. But the architects of the project, partly because potential outs were taken away by that configuration, decided to move the backstop, Benko said. “What happened was the whole angle changed, we had foul balls that used to hit the fence or trees, so they had New Canaan Baseball raise the netting to try and stop the problem,” Benko said.

New Playground, Rubber Surface at Mead Park on Track for Late-May Completion

The widely anticipated installation of a new playground and rubber surface at Mead Park—a project nearly two years in development—is expected to be completed next month, officials say. A collaboration between the town and Friends of Mead Park Playground, the project will see preparation work for the new play structures and a “Poured-In-Place” surface commence during the last week in April with a target completion date of late-May, according to Recreation Director Steve Benko. The 20-year-old playground structure that had been there was recently removed (it’s going to be refurbished and sent for use in an underdeveloped country) after the New Canaan Department of Public Works’ Highway Department helped disassemble it in a single day, Benko told members of the Parks & Recreation Commission at their most recent meeting. “The first step to is to grade the area, level it off and then we will install the playground, put the stone in and the concrete borders and then the last step is to put the Poured-In-Place surface in,” he said at the meeting, held April 10 at Town Hall. “And that is probably going to be in mid- to late-May to put that in, because the temperatures should be in the 50s to do that.

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.