Firms interested in parks job

The committee studying improved use of Merwin Meadows and Schenck’s Island has received 15 responses to its request for qualifications from firms interested in gathering public input to develop a proposal for the optimal use of the two town parks at either end of Wilton Center.

The questions from the prospective designers have been answered by letter and also on the town’s website, according to the minutes of the latest committee meeting.

Proposals were due early this month, and Dan Berg, chairman of the study committee, said a recommendation will be made to the Board of Selectmen in June. The committee’s next meeting is May 29 at 7:30 p.m.

The committee is seeking a design to make the parks more welcoming for people of all ages. Along with improving the aesthetics and physical structures of each park, it is seeking a design that encourages community activities.

After months of study last year on a biweekly basis, the Schenck’s Island Merwin Meadows Study Committee reported last October it was ready to seek a planning consultant that could execute that vision.

“The overall idea for Merwin remains the same, while Schenck’s is a hugely untapped resource,” Berg told the selectmen at the time. “There could be a temporary ice rink in the winter, potentially with a bonfire going, and have a restaurant bring in a cart with hot chocolate. We would create a Norman Rockwell scene behind Wilton Center.”

There would be no permanent structures. Most of the meadow would be preserved, probably with more trails through it, with an acre by the parking lot mowed for a community gathering space like a concert glen. There could be logs and berms for children to climb on.

The planning firm will also provide the costs, with sensitivity to how it could be built in phases. There will probably be charrettes, meetings where the public will have an opportunity to learn more and comment.