Feds Find Dozens of ADA Violations at New Canaan Public Facilities

Federal officials in an investigation regarding violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act have cited dozens of barriers to access at public facilities throughout New Canaan. Launched last summer, the U.S. Department of Justice’s investigation led to an “on-site survey” of five public facilities in New Canaan in May, according to a Site Survey Report issued Oct. 7 by Diane Perry, an architect in the DOJ’s Disability Rights Section. The investigation at the five facilities—Waveny House, Town Hall campus, Mead Park, Firehouse, Waveny paddle courts and hut and playing fields at New Canaan High School—yielded a total of 109 citations, according to the report, obtained by NewCanaanite.com. 

The barriers range from what appear to require small changes, such as new or relocated signage, to substantial infrastructure projects, such as entirely new accessible routes where none currently exist or changes to the slope of walkways and ramps already in place. In some cases, the DOJ cited barriers following very recent projects.

Rise in Crime: New Canaan Police Request $200,000-Plus To Boost Security in Parks, Downtown

Noting that the town is seeing a rise in crimes such as thefts at public parks and the business district, the chief of police is seeking $200,000-plus to bolster safety through a series of initiatives. The funds would be targeted toward improved security at Waveny ($25,000) and Irwin Parks ($75,000), as well as the downtown ($125,000), according to New Canaan Police Chief Leon Krolikowski. “Given the crime we have seen and the concerns expressed by our residents, I think it’s a perfect time for us to build on what’s been done and improve on it,” Krolikowski said during the Feb. 16 meeting of the Police Commission, held at police headquarters and via videoconference. New Canaan had “an unprecedented” number of motor vehicle thefts in 2021, Krolikowski said, something police are “very concerned about”—up to 39 last year, from 27 in 2020 and just 10 in 2019.

Town: Dead and Dying Trees in and Around Waveny To Be Replanted

Town officials say they’re working with a local environmental organization to secure funds for the replanting of trees in and around Waveny Park. Planet New Canaan has secured a matching fund grant for the initiative, and the Department of Public Works is also working with the town Conservation Commission on the effort, according to DPW Director Tiger Mann. Mann told the Board of Selectmen at their regular meeting last week that he’s consulted with Tree Warden Bob Horan as to tree species and locations where dead or dying trees are coming down “so as we start to take them down we can replace them.”

“Especially in our parks and in our other areas that might have lost a significant amount of trees due to storm damage and what have you,” Mann said during the meeting, held March 9 via videoconference. The comments came in response to a question from First Selectman Kevin Moynihan as the Board considered a $20,000 contract for a New Canaan-based company to remove, prune and stump trees at 12 locations around town. Moynihan and Selectmen Kathleen Corbet and Nick Williams voted 3-0 in favor of the contract with Mill River Tree Service Inc.

The first selectman asked Mann whether Public Works planned “to get some of those broken trees, or the remnants of old trees, along Waveny’s roads?”

Mann said Mill River bested a quote from another bidding tree company by about $500. 

According to documentation provided by the town, the other locations for tree removal are:

57 Laurel Road (remove sugar maple and ash trees)
Corner of Parade Hill Road and Hampton Lane (remove dying fir and small oak trees)
Opposite 229 Valley Road (remove two ash trees and a small maple)
Near Silver Hill Hospital (remove an ash tree)
92 Valley Road (remove four dying ash trees and a decayed maple and grind stumps)
Mead Park exit (remove decayed white pine and grind stump)
38 Nursery Road (remove ash tree)
12 Nursery Road (remove white pine)
37 Overlook Drive (remove cedar tree)
41-43 Cross St.

Police Chief ‘Thrilled’ That Security Cameras Now Are Being Installed at Waveny’s Entrances

The chief of the New Canaan Police Department said he’s “thrilled” that security cameras are being installed at Waveny’s two main entrances. 

Asked about the pole-mounted security cameras—there’s one already in place at the park’s Lapham Road entrance—Police Chief Leon Krolikowski noted that New Canaan has seen motor vehicle break-ins in recent weeks at both Waveny and Irwin Parks. “We have seen video cameras work well specifically at the YMCA, preventing people from breaking into vehicles,” Krolikowski told NewCanaanite.com. “And if they do commit a crime, it will help us catch and and arrest them and prevent future crimes from occurring. These groups will enter a vehicle if they believe that there are valuables inside. Very typically they strike public parks and public common areas in Fairfield County, recently in Monroe and in our town and other parts of Fairfield County.

Police: Purse, iPhone, House Keys Stolen in Smash-and-Grab at Waveny Park

Police say a Longchamp purse, iPhone 6, cash and house keys were reported stolen Saturday afternoon from an SUV in a smash-and-grab at Waveny. Credit cards, a driver’s license and reading glasses also were stolen after the right rear passenger window of a 2018 Lexus RX 350 was smashed while its owner was using the popular park, according to a press release issued by Police Chief Leon Krolikowski. The larceny was reported to police at about 3:33 p.m. on Feb. 6, the chief said in the press release. “Many towns in Fairfield County are experiencing similar crimes,” Krolikowski said in the release.