Wood­ward Park gets a makeover

The Norwalk Hour - - FRONT PAGE - By Justin Papp

NOR­WALK — Wind whipped through Wood­ward Park on Fri­day af­ter­noon, shook the trees and tou­sled the hair of the many vol­un­teers busy dig­ging holes and spread­ing mulch.

But at least it wasn’t rain­ing. “I was a lit­tle wor­ried think­ing, ‘Oh my God, we have to plant trees to­day,’” Ernie Gre­vers, of the Vil­lage Creek As­so­ci­a­tion, said. “But the weather is beau­ti­ful.”

Gre­vers is one of a group of Vil­lage Creek res­i­dents who, along with vol­un­teers from the Nor­walk Tree Ad­vi­sory Com­mit­tee, Fac­tSet and the Nor­walk River Wa­ter­shed As­so­ci­a­tion, who are work­ing to re­vi­tal­ize Wood­ward Park in South Nor­walk and re­build its for­mer tree canopy.

“I’ve seen too many storms take trees down and not enough go­ing back up,” said Rich White­head, chair­man of the Tree Ad­vi­sory Com­mit­tee.

Gre­vers and White­head along with Lauri Mirra, also a Vil­lage Creek res­i­dent, Louise Washer, pres­i­dent of the NRWA, and 20 Fac­tSet vol­un­teers had gath­ered to re­place white pines that were once plen­ti­ful in the park. The pines were not salt tol­er­ant, and were wiped out by Su­per­storm Sandy’s wa­ters.

Since 2012, the park has lacked a canopy.

“This park has been so ne­glected,” Mirra said. “Peo­ple

would come here in the sum­mer with um­brel­las be­cause there’s no tree cov­er­age.”

On Fri­day, the group was plant­ing eight trees in to­tal — four tu­pe­los and four oaks — around the edges of the park’s ten­nis and bas­ket­ball courts. In Au­gust, an­other group from Fac­tSet had come to re­move in­va­sive species of plants in the park.

“Fac­tSet has been try­ing to in­crease its ef­forts to en­gage with the com­mu­nity,” said Rob Kyle, direc­tor of re­search strat­egy for the Nor­walk-based soft­ware com­pany. “The NRWA is one of the or­ga­ni­za­tions we’ve cho­sen to part­ner with be­cause a lot of our em­ployee care about the en­vi­ron­ment.”

Ac­cord­ing to a Western Con­necti­cut Coun­cil of Govern­ments study done this year, Nor­walk ranked low for canopy cover — 135 out of 169 mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties — and high for im­per­vi­ous sur­face cover — 9 out of 169 — which com­bined can af­fect air qual­ity, in­crease pol­lu­tion as a re­sult of runoff and in­crease tem­per­a­tures. South Nor­walk was cited as par­tic­u­larly prob­lem­atic.

“Sono has been ne­glected, it’s an area that not a lot of money has been put into,” Gre­vers said. “But it’s a beau­ti­ful piece of prop­erty.”

With in­creased at­ten­tion, the groups hope to add more tree cov­er­age and bet­ter main­tain the park. In ad­di­tion, the NRWA is work­ing to cre­ate a “Pol­li­na­tor Path­way” through Nor­walk to at­tract birds, bees and but­ter­flies, of which Wood­ward Park is now a part.

Gre­vers, who is a na­tive of the Nether­lands, raised her kids in West­port and moved to Nor­walk five years ago. She feels like it’s her duty to im­prove the com­mu­nity.

“When you move some­where, you have to make it more beau­ti­ful than it was for the peo­ple who come af­ter you,” Gre­vers said.

Justin Papp / Hearst Con­necti­cut Me­dia

Fac­tSet vol­un­teers at Wood­ward Park on Fri­day in Nor­walk.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.