New Canaan Parks & Rec votes Waveny as new rink location
NEW CANAAN — The New Canaan Parks and Recreation Commission voted on Wednesday in favor of putting the temporary rink on a parking lot in 300-acre Waveny Park at 677 South Ave.
Commissioner Jake Granito made the motion after he voiced reasons why the parking lot at Waveny is the best site after considering several other locations.
He said the benefits for having the rink in Waveny Park include: proximity to bathrooms, power access via a transformer, water, ample parking and a large area that could be leveled. He spoke little of the other sites considered at the meeting.
Currently, the ice skating rink equipment already sits in a trailer next to the chiller in Waveny Park behind the Carriage Barn. The equipment includes the pieces for the 120-foot by 60-foot rink that would be used primarily for community skating.
A full size rink measures 85 by 200 feet. Even though the surface will be smaller than a National Hockey League regulation
rink, it could be used for practice for young children, Rep. Tom O’Dea, who represents New Canaan, said at a committee meeting on Monday, April 12.
Director of Public Works Tiger Mann said now is a good time for the town to winterize the bathrooms, which are near the parking lot, since it is a year-round park. Mann also said the town would be paving the lot and has been assured it can be made level enough for the rink.
Neighbors around Kiwanis Park, who opposed the building of the rink, were able to sigh a breath of relief after the 13.8 acre park was no longer under consideration for the temporary ice rink.
One of their concerns was light pollution at night. Granito explained that temporary lights would be used at Waveny, either powered by diesel or electricity.
The vote had one dissenter, Commissioner Gene Goodman, who has argued for Kiwanis Park to be the location for the rink, saying it would be helpful to have a lodge on the premises. He has said that it would be an ideal place for skaters to put on their skates, have snacks and go inside while taking a break.
“Like other abutting neighbors in Kiwanis Park, I am relieved that the Commissioners voted on the Waveny location for the trial ice rink,” Betty Lovastik told Hearst Connecticut Media
Organizers expect that a full-size rink may be in New Canaan’s future.
“Hopefully, eventually” the town will “put a permanent ice rink in our town for our kids, for our families and for everyone to enjoy,” Parks and Recreation Commission Chairman Rona Siegel said.
At a committee meeting on April 12, the group ruled out Mead Park as a location for the permanent rink because the water main to the park would have had to be dug up and the areas of the park that were being considered are not level enough.
Kiwanis Park was not favored because the Exchange Club uses the park to sell Christmas trees around the holidays.
At previous meetings, neighbors of the small park with a pond, six buildings, a playground and basketball court had raised concern about space, the sounds of the chiller, the glare of lights needed for evening skating and noise from music.
Kiwanis Park neighbor Lily Gruver had argued against the location as a possible destination for the rink and said that, of all the potential options, the neighbors would be most affected there.
Disagreeing with Goodman’s sentiments, those who prefer the Waveny Park location noted there are several buildings on the lot including the mansion, Lapham Center, the Powerhouse Theater, the Carriage Barn and the paddle ball cabin.
Granito said a tent was also being contemplated for skaters.
Costs have not yet been given. Siegel has said cost estimates is a future step.
The upkeep is expected to be supplied by donations, O’Dea has said at previous meetings.
The equipment was purchased from the Hunt Club of Westport for $50,000 with donated money in December 2020.
The ice rink site committee was made up of Robert ( Jake) Granito, Francesca Segalas and Hank Green, with help from Mann, New Canaan Senior Engineer Joe Zagarenski and Recreation Director Steve Benko.