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The New Canaan Town Council’s $25 million capital budget OK

A view of New Canaan City Hall in New Canaan, Conn., on Tuesday, April 16, 2024.

A view of New Canaan City Hall in New Canaan, Conn., on Tuesday, April 16, 2024.

Christian Abraham/Hearst Connecticut Media

NEW CANAAN — New Canaan is expected to get a newly renovated baseball field and a high-traffic area solution as part of the 2024-25 budget.

On April 23, the New Canaan City Council authorized $25,540,226 for new capital projects in the coming year, of which $20,756,729 is expected to be provided in bond. The City Council separately approved a $174.9 million city budget on April 2.

One of the most discussed topics of the evening was $150,000 for traffic calming measures, particularly at the three-way intersection at Conrad Road and Whiffle Tree Lane, a problem area that drew complaints from residents and council members alike.

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After some confusion among both the City Council and residents, Public Works Director Tiger Mann clarified that the capital request was not for a new study, but to implement a new traffic calming system, although “it had not yet been decided what that would be .”

Located near Waveny Park, the intersection has caused problems with drivers struggling to identify who has the right of way and some near misses on the road.

“Cars are routinely driving, always above the speed limit, and some are going as fast as 55 miles per hour as they drive down the street toward that intersection,” said resident Bart Codd, who lives on Conrad Road.

According to Mann, the city is considering several options to change traffic habits, including a roundabout or a three-way stop.

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The roundabout would theoretically create what Mann described as “uncertain” conditions that will slow motorists. A three-way stop could help, but Mann said he worries about whether drivers would pay attention to the stop signs.

Once a solution is found, it would still need to gain approval from 67 percent of residents to move forward, Mann said. A few residents who spoke during public comment raised concerns about whether a roundabout would be effective.

“Personally, I will not move forward without approval from the residents, the Board of Selectmen, this body and the Police Commission,” Mann said. “That will not happen.”

The City Council also approved the city’s $2 million contribution to the renovation of Coppo Field in Waveny Park. Project costs total $6.5 million, with $4.5 million coming from the New Canaan Athletic Foundation.

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The project aims to create a varsity field for the city that is more usable and closer to the high school.

The Coppo Field project had previously been discussed by other city bodies, with members of the Board of Finance arguing over whether the field was a “need” or a “need” during a difficult budget year.

Councilor Tom Butterworth said it was “phenomenal” that so many buildings in the city were funded by local philanthropy, calling it the backbone of the city.

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“If you say this gives the kids more of a playing field, it gives the city more appeal to the sporting community and you’re going to do this and give us a $6.5 million asset for $2 million – I’m in,” Butterworth said.

Other expenses in this year’s capital budget include $25,000 for cemetery maintenance – an initiative spearheaded by a local teenager – various repairs to city buildings, demolition of Audubon House at the Nature Center and police and fire equipment.