Agreement with Waveny conservancy approved
The Town Council approved a partnership agreement with the recently founded Waveny Conservancy, a non-profit established in July to raise funds to complete landscaping and other maintenance projects on the grounds of the 200-acre park.
Bob Seelert, the chairman of the conservancy, said the group has set a $2.5-million fundraising goal for a first round of projects at the park, which was established after the town purchased the property for $1.5 million 48 years ago.
“The vision of the group is to work in partnership with the town to ensure that Waveny Park thrives in perpetuity,” Seelert said.
Under the agreement, the Board of Selectmen, Town Council and other relevant boards would retain control over approving any proposed projects at the park.
Seelert said in the initial years the group plans to focus on the south side of the east-west road that includes the 100-plus acre swath of the park surrounding Waveny Mansion that is reserved for passive recreation.
Town Council Chairman Steve Karl said the agreement would benefit the town by establishing a dedicated group focused solely on every aspect of maintaining the park.
“We are stamping and supporting the Waveny Conservancy as the expert in Waveny Park and holding them to a standard that is there,” Karl said. “It doesn’t preclude doing other improvements and projects with private funds for (playing) fields.”
The council also voted unanimously to approve transferring $650,000 to the New Canaan Housing Authority toward financing the first phase of a planned 72-unit, $20.15 million expansion of Millport Apartments downtown to provide low-and moderate-income homes.
Work on the first phase to add 33 mostly one-bedroom units in the development began this fall and will likely be complete sometime next year, to be followed almost immediately by an additional 40 units, according to the plan.
The expected impact of the project’s two- and three-bedroom units is expected to be neutral on town services such as schools, with only about 12 school-age children already living at Millport Apartments expected to live in the complex, said Scott Hobbs, chairman of the New Canaan Housing Authority.
“Most of them are current residents,” Hobbs said.