Editorial: Civic generosity

A generous donation from the Kiwanis Club to the town will boost what had been essentially a cleanup project and modest pocket park along River Road into something more lively, and that is exciting. This grant not only demonstrates the the value of these amenities to the town, but also the civic spirit of our clubs and citizens that is so essential to the quality of life in Wilton.

The Kiwanis Club has been a major player in civic generosity since 1951. Each year this group puts on tried and true fundraisers like the recent pancake breakfast and citrus fruit sale, and new ones like last fall’s pumpkin patch, then invest the money raised into projects and organizations that benefit Wilton. This club has donated money to Ogden House, Stay at Home in Wilton, Trackside Teen Center, Wilton Family Y, Memorial Day parade, Wilton Volunteer Ambulance Corps, and Wilton Youth Council, among many more. The club also organizes regular food drives, as it did two weeks ago, to support the Wilton Interfaith Food Pantry.

This club provides such vital support, it’s safe to say Wilton would not be Wilton without it. Kiwanis always welcomes new members to continue this valuable work. Visit online at wiltonkiwanis.org.

The other half of this equation is the Wilton Garden Club. Incoming club president Suzanne Knutson is assisting with the park’s landscape design, which will help expose one of Wilton’s greatest natural assets: the Norwalk River. Wilton may not have a shoreline, but along with many beautiful lakes and ponds it has a river and that benefit should be realized at every opportunity.

The 95-year-old garden club is behind many of the Wilton’s beautification projects including the garden at Horseshoe Pond, the gateway garden at Route 7 and 33, the Veterans Memorial Green, flower containers at town hall, the post office garden, and more than 100 flowerpots hanging from lampposts in Wilton Center. The club also runs a garden therapy program for senior citizens, sponsors Green Teens, a community garden project at Trackside Teen Center, and co-sponsors the monthly “walks and talks” through Wilton’s open spaces. More information is at wiltongardenclub.org.

The new park, spearheaded by Environmental Affairs Director Mike Conklin, will now include a wheelchair-accessible game table suitable for chess, thanks to the Kiwanis donation, along with already planned picnic tables and benches. Unlike passive parks that are great for walking and communing with nature, this park will encourage people to commune with one another.

It will be small, to be sure, but that’s the nature of a pocket park. It’s intended to be one jewel in a collection of natural gems around town.