Selectmen approve committee to study parks

A new committee in town will study what passive recreational purposes will come to Schenck’s Island and Merwin Meadows.

The Board of Selectmen approved the committee at its meeting Nov. 7. It will be responsible for reviewing the current use and management of Schenck’s Island and Merwin Meadows, evaluating the community’s needs, and exploring how improving the parks can enhance economic development in Wilton Center.

The study will get underway because the Parks and Recreation Commission has $10,000 to study Merwin Meadows, said First Selectman Lynne Vanderslice.

“They’ll have charrettes for how to improve the park,” Vanderslice said.

The Board of Selectmen will appoint seven members within two months to serve on the committee. It will include two positions nominated by the Conservation Commission,

two positions nominated by the Parks and Recreation Commission, one position

nominated by the Planning and Zoning Commission, one position nominated by the

Economic Development Commission, and one nominated by the Board of Selectmen. Andrea Preston of the Planning and Zoning Commission agreed to be a member at the commission’s meeting on Nov. 14.

The committee will meet the minority representation regulations.

Parks and Recreation Director Steve Pierce and Mike Conklin, director of environmental affairs, will serve as advisers to the committee, which will choose its own chair.

Despite its name, Schenck’s Island is not an island, except when considered as a 17-acre oasis in the middle of town. Most of the park is owned by the town, with three of the southernmost acres belonging to the Wilton Land Conservation Trust.

It is the last natural part of the vast Schenck estate of the early 20th Century, which was eventually sold and broken into parcels that now contain condominiums, the Avalon apartment complex, the Executive Campus, and River Park Plaza, where Stop & Shop is.

The park sits between the railroad tracks and the Norwalk River.