Local softball families seeking to replace an iconic tree recently felled at their showcase field have planted several apple trees there, after beating their fundraising goal for the project twice over.
New Canaan Softball rapidly raised $10,250 for the estimated $5,000 project that includes not just three Norway maples behind the backstop at Waveny’s Orchard Field, but also two honey crisp apple, two traditional, one yellow delicious and one Granny Smith apple tree, according to town resident Jeff Fortmann, a parent who serves on the organization’s board.
Asked for his reaction to the strong response from local families involved in the sport, Fortmann said, “I’m just astonished.”
“It was an absolute thrill to get this support from the softball community,” he said.
The Parks & Recreation Commission in October approved New Canaan Softball’s proposal to fund and help loan for the tree plantings. The area had been the site of an orchard, maintained by the Lapham family, owners of Waveny prior to the town’s acquisition of the property in 1967.
The new orchard planting was completed with the donated services of local softball parent Brian Granskog of Exterior Living LLC and includes a plaque acknowledging the support and mission of the project that’s affixed to a boulder behind the home plate backstop at Orchard Field.
Asked why he decided to give of his professional services for the plantings, Granskog said, “I truly enjoy being involved with New Canaan Softball.”
“It’s a great group of people—the kids, the parents, everybody,” he said.
The Orchard Field is adjacent to the main softball parking lot. Town officials have approved a number of capital improvements to the Orchard Field and abutting “Water Tower Field,” in recent years, including taller backstops, dugout canopies and additional lighting.
The more than $5,000 now in the bank for future field improvements from New Canaan Softball likely will go toward upgrading the batting cages located on the northern side of the Orchard Field, near the Water Tower parking lot, Fortmann said.
Asked what the recently completed plantings mean for the local softball community, Fortmann said, “It was a really special project for everyone during a very tough year.”
“I think the hope for this project is that the entire community will watch these trees grow for decades to come, that multiple generations of New Canaan families will enjoy it.”