Hundreds of New Canaan Families Gather at NCHS To Support Tackle Football This Fall

More than 400 youth and high school football players and parents gathered Monday morning at New Canaan High School to urge state officials to allow tackle football this fall. The show of support came after the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference cited a state Department of Public Health statement from last Thursday saying the agency “is unlikely to support higher risk activities for the fall term” absent “modifications to higher risk activities.” 

“As such, the CIAC Board of Control, in alignment with DPH recommendations, has determined that high risk full contact football is no longer a viable option,” the CIAC said in a press release. Instead, it’s looking at the “appropriateness” of a 7-on-7 football model, as opposed to the normal 11-on-11 game. Those gathered at Dunning Stadium on a sunny Labor Day morning pushed for the traditional game, with safety precautions. 

“The game of football is not just about winning games and putting points on the board,” Mike Benevento, president of the New Canaan Athletic Foundation, told as dozens of football families filed into Dunning for the socially distanced show of support. “The game of football is about camaraderie.

‘I’m Not Optimistic’: State Rep Says New Canaan Likely To Lose Parking on Main Street 

New Canaan likely won’t be able to negotiate a way around losing several parking spaces on Main Street downtown, as per a state statute that prohibits spots near crosswalks, officials said this week. After speaking with Connecticut Department of Transportation officials, state Rep. Tom O’Dea (R-125th) said that “obtaining waiver is probably not likely.”

O’Dea told members of the Police Commission during their regular meeting Wednesday that he intends to schedule a meeting with the DOT that includes New Canaan’s delegation to the General Assembly. “It is a statute, or regulation, that we have to try to get an exemption from,” O’Dea said during the meeting, held at the New Canaan Police Department. 

“What we are going to try and bring up is what other possible things we can do to address their safety concerns with having crosswalk and parking spots where they are currently, whether that be some sort of lighting or some sort of reflective things, but I would say I’m not optimistic I will be able to change their position.”

After a town resident complained to the DOT regarding New Canaan’s failure to observe a 1949 state law that prohibits parking within 25 feet of a marked crosswalk at an intersection, state officials pushed for immediately compliance. (The stretch of Main Street from Cherry to Locust Avenue doubles in parts as state Routes 106 and 124.) The town hired a Fairfield-based transportation consultant to study the area, and that firm returned last month with a new parking configuration that would limit the loss of parking to six net spaces. The Commission decided to hold off a vote on that plan, pending O’Dea’s input. 

O’Dea said the response from the DOT regarding its insistence that New Canaan comply with the law where perhaps other municipalities are not is, “Well, we have not received complaint or we are not aware of them, and they don’t have the staff to go inspect this situation.”

“So that is kind of where we are,” he said.

Parks Officials Propose Ice Rink in New Canaan

Parks officials are proposing a seasonal, open-aired ice rink in New Canaan that would be open to the public with an admission charge. To be used primarily for recreational ice skating and limited sports practice, the rink should be located on town property, preferably in a public park, under a proposal developed by Gene Goodman of the Parks & Recreation Commission. Funded under a public-private partnership similar to the self-sustaining Waveny Pool, the facility would run from late-November through February for two trial seasons in order to gauge public interest, costs and appropriate rink size, and out-of-towners would be charged higher admission fees, according to a summary provided by Goodman, who has led the appointed body’s efforts to study the possibility of a rink for nearly one year. Though the project is too early-stage for the Commission or another town body to ask for funding or formal approval to pursue the rink—that process will require multiple public hearings and sign-off from the selectmen, Board of Finance, Town Council and likely the Planning & Zoning Commission—Parks & Rec members at their Jan. 9 meeting “agreed that this would be a benefit to our town and agreed that we should proceed to next steps,” according to Goodman.