Town To Market Waveny Fireworks as ‘Residents-Only’

Though police say they’re not anticipating a major rise in attendees for this year’s Independence Day weekend picnic and fireworks at Waveny, the volunteer committee that organizes the event is marketing it as “residents-only.”

The Family Fourth Committee long has urged those planning to attend the event, scheduled this year for Saturday, July 3, to buy parking/entry passes and typically sells more than 2,000 of them. Of those, about 1,800 are purchased by New Canaan residents in a normal year. The standalone fund to put on the event is supported by pass sales (it has about $70,000 in it currently). Those driving into Waveny or New Canaan High School to park without a pass have been allowed to enter, in part because it’s a practical impossibility to hold up the line talking to them about their passes or trying to have them turn around. Noting that some towns canceled their own fireworks shows this year due to uncertainty about pandemic-related restrictions, Committee members voiced fears at meetings held May 20 and 27 that the Waveny event could see so many people come that it overwhelms the park and becomes unsafe for pedestrians.

Congregational Church: Dispute with Town Regarding Ownership of God’s Acre To Continue through Summer

A dispute dating back to September between the Congregational Church of New Canaan and the town’s highest elected official regarding ownership of God’s Acre is expected to continue through the summer, according to the church’s pastor. In a letter sent Friday to the congregation, the Rev. Chapin Garner said the church’s attorney and trustees “will continue to engage the town in deliberation over our First Selectman [Kevin Moynihan]’s assertion that the Town of New Canaan owns God’s Acre.”

“In the past few weeks, we have shared a fair amount of documentation about God’s Acre history with our town officials in response to a commitment from all our Selectmen to approach the issue with open minds and genuine interest in understanding our history and the history of our ancient burial ground across the street from our Meeting House,” the letter said. “Additionally, I recognize that many of our church members and friends may not know the original purpose, or our church’s stewardship, of God’s Acre that dates back to 1736. Five years after the founding of ‘Canaan Parish’ and sixty-five years before the incorporation of the Town of New Canaan.”

Garner, who is to go on sabbatical May 1, called the God’s Acre dispute an “important issue that has yet to be resolved that will require continued conversation throughout the summer.”

A citizen-led effort to create the terrace launched in early-2019, when the committee formed to create a year-round gathering space at the top of God’s Acre where the Town Band also could set up each Dec. 24.

Town Seeks Review of ‘Sidewalk Bump-Out Plan’ on Elm Street

Town officials say they’ve hired a traffic engineer to review a plan to bump out sidewalks on Elm Street. Michael Galante, director of traffic at Norwalk-based Hardesty & Hanover LLC, has been hired “to come out and take a look at Elm Street, review a bump-out plan for us, a sidewalk bump-out plan,” according to Public Works Director Tiger Mann. “He is going to be doing a little bit of traffic study and a little bit of speed study on Elm Street, the main business section,” Mann told members of the Police Commission during their regular meeting, held March 17 via videoconference. “There was a request to have the speed limit dropped there, and then we’d like him to take a look at that. So he will be out there in the next couple of weeks to look at that and then we are hoping to come back to you in April with some findings.”

The Commission’s next regular meeting is scheduled for April 21. 

It wasn’t clear what portions of Elm Street sidewalks would be “bumped out” under the town’s plan, what businesses would benefit, whether the plan would result in loss of parking spaces or whether the town will solicit public input on the changes.