7 thoughts on “Town Committee to Private Group: We Can’t Change a Town Ordinance Allowing You To Place Ads in Waveny Ice Rink

    • Agreed.
      It’s about time the town stood up to private interests gerrymandering our established rules and regulations. Insiders need to stop using their status to get their way. It happens too often here. Hopefully, this is a turning point. The Rink group should have thought of this before- hopefully, they will figure out a new way to have their project succeed.

      • Actually, their project has been quite successful.

        As correctly mentioned in this article, I was present at the November 2021 meeting wherein Tom O’Dea first mentioned that the dasher board ads were needed to help pay for their operating costs (i.e., monthly electricity bill).
        Since that time, just one year later, the group received $100k from Toni Boucher, $200K in state grants, $25K from ARPA funds and, if I recall correctly, $10k from NCCF in addition to private donations from the fund raising effort by their members.

        During this Bylaws and Ordinance Subcommittee Meeting Tom O’Dea stated that the dasher board advertisements were not needed to cover the monthly projected electricity costs. The rink can open this month without the ads, as reported in this article.

        • Thank you, Betty. That’s correct. Not to mention that the town is offering the location itself to this private group. If I recall correctly, the ice rink was marketed to the town at first as self-sustaining so that it would cost nothing to taxpayers—now this group appears to be “naming” the rink completely on its own and pushing the ads as a way to help it operate without town assistance. These maneuvers may also appear to set a slippery precedent for New Canaan.

          A couple of things I didn’t report in this story that also were discussed at the meeting:
          1. Cristina Ross suggested that the town consider setting up a posting board similar to what’s outside the train station or at the corner of Farm Road and South Avenue, set aside as a dedicated place for organizations to advertise with permission from Town Hall. The other Committee members called the idea “interesting,” though I was unable to tell whether they were saying that sincerely or as a way to get Ross to stop talking (as happens during regular Town Council meetings).
          2. Some Committee members focused their rather surprising disappointment at the existing signs already in Waveny on the nonprofit Town Players of New Canaan, a well-established community theater troupe. However, Public Works Director Tiger Mann pointed out that the signs are designed to help theater-goers find the venue itself within Waveny rather than to spotlight the sponsors of the plays (which the signs do not).

          • Michael, like you I was quite surprised by Town Players of New Canaan comment brought up by co-chair Tom Butterworth whom I respect. Tom performed in TPNC plays, directed several of their productions and served on the Town Players Board of Trustees. I raised my icon hand to clarify his statement about the TPNC signs; thankfully, Tiger spoke first. I was present in the Parks and Rec meeting several years ago when TPNC asked permission to place directional lawn signs to help visitors find the Power House Theater. The TPNC signs are not sponsor-paid advertisements like the proposed dasher board ads. In my opinion, TPNC is not in violation of Section 42-8(G) of the Town Code.

          • I did not take Tom’s comment as a shot at TPNC so much as a general observation about sign enforcement in the park. Tiger eventually spoke up and clarified that, as you say, though before he did so, others at the meeting — misinterpreting what Tom had said — used it to make this strange argument about how if the ice rink doesn’t get its way, everyone must suffer. Bolstered by their imagined righteousness, they even went so far as to declare themselves the only group that had gone through the correct channel of the Town Council committee, with this “We decided to ask for permission, not forgiveness” and “We are being punished for doing the right thing” nonsense. Such victims, with their hundreds of thousands in taxpayer money for a makeshift rink on freely given public land. Not exactly good PR for the “Boucher Community Ice Rink,” imo. Be interesting to see if these marketing geniuses continue down that road.

  1. Seems there should/could be a more creative and interesting way to raise $15k per year than needing to skirt a local ordinance (an ordinance that keeps the town beautiful by the way, which many could argue is why we all love living here in the first place).

    For instance, instead of running “ads” on dasher boards, why not open the boards up to paid “dedications” for family members, local hockey legends, etc as we do for plaques on park benches. If one person in town can generously donate $100k to name the rink, certainly a “Dedicate a Dasher Board” campaign could meet, if not surpass, an annual $15k appeal?

    Or make the Boucher Community Ice Rink it’s own “brand” and sell commemorative hats, gloves, scarves, skates, hoodies, and more? Work with the Carriage Barn to make these an annual local-artist collaboration? That could generate $15k in annual sales easy.

    If the question is “the ice rink needs money!” then that’s one ask that we as a town can creatively solve for.

    If someone has some back-door deals in waiting to run ads specifically, or gone around and promised “tasteful advertisers” that they’d use their political muscle to get the job done, then that’s something else.

    Either way, no ads on or around the ice rink seems like the best thing to do. Not only is it what we’ve all already agreed to, but I can’t imagine a single skater’s experience making special memories being hampered because they didn’t see a billboard ad.

    It’s the absence of ads that’ll make those memories special in the first place.

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