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 widely anticipated pickleball courts at Mead Park are nearing completion and a new patio is planned for an area next to them, officials say. The courts have been painted and fencing has been installed, Public Works Director Tiger Mann told members of the Parks & Recreation Commission during their regular meeting, held July 14 via videoconference. Gates into and between the courts still need to be installed, as does a practice tennis wall at the southern end of the new courts, officials said. Located on the western end of Mead, above the pond and colonnade, the area around the courts also will get landscaping, an expanded parking lot and a patio, Mann said. “It’s shaping up really nicely,” he told Parks & Rec during an update.
The volunteer committee that organizes the annual Fourth of July fireworks in Waveny is struggling to find a new date for the twice-postponed event, officials say. Originally scheduled for July 3 with a July 11 rain date, the annual picnic and fireworks show has been put off due to rain and concerns about damaging Waveny’s athletic fields where visitors’ cars are parked, according to Recreation Director Steve Benko. “So we are looking to try and find an alternate date,” he told members of the Parks & Recreation Commission during their regular meeting, held July 14 via videoconference. ‘That’s been kind of difficult.”
The comments came during Benko’s general update to the Commission.
Canceled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Family Fourth could not be scheduled with the fireworks contractor on the usual July 4 date this year. Though the Family Fourth Committee started planning later than usual in 2021 due to uncertainty about COVID-related restrictions, the group decided in May to market this year’s fireworks as “New Canaan residents only.” It’s unclear how many tickets were sold.
The town official charged by state statute with caring for New Canaan’s public trees is at odds with a local volunteer group that’s eager to remove several Japanese maples from a walkway near Waveny House. The town’s tree warden thinks the maples planted along one side of the path that runs between the gazebo and fountain at the top of the sledding hill “are absolutely beautiful,” Public Works Director Tiger Mann said during the June 9 Parks & Recreation Commission meeting. Referring to a New Canaan Garden Club proposal to replace those trees with a long bed of peonies and flowering plants, Mann added, “He understands your desire to have that, but he also feels that he answers to the other 20,000 residents in the town and he doesn’t see any good reason why they should be removed at present.”
The comments followed a presentation by representatives of the Garden Club and Waveny Park Conservancy, as well as their landscape designer. Removing the Japanese maples would open up a nice view of the hill and pond below, would create more symmetry with the peonies already on the west side of the footpath and would be a better photo opportunity for people getting married at Waveny, according to Conservancy Chair Caroline Garrity and Kathryn Herman of New Canaan-based Kathryn Herman Design, LLC. “It would be very stunning to have this incredibly long walk that was unified on both sides of the walk with this really beautiful display,” Herman said during the meeting, held via videoconference.
After all four installments of a popular antique and specialty car show were canceled one year ago due to the pandemic, parks officials on Wednesday night approved ‘Caffeine & Carburetors’ for Oct. 17 at Waveny. It’s founder and organizer, New Canaan resident Doug Zumbach, owner of the eponymous coffee shop at Pine and Grove Streets, “always does such an amazing job, and all the events that he has had in the past have been pretty problem-free,” Parks & Recreation Commissioner Laura Costigan said during the appointed body’s regular meeting, held via videoconference. “And I can’t think better way keep jumpstarting things after the pandemic than approving” the event, she said. The Commission voted 11-0 to approve it.
Zumbach in proposing the event—and also noting that he hoped in the future for a possible Sept.