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Formulating A Future For Fairfield Hills



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Thomas Connors wondered, could the Fairfield Hills property be used particularly for events? Mr Connors chairs the board overseeing the town-owned space.

“We already have events, but we don’t have the infrastructure to hold events in a way that we might generate revenue,” he noted.

The Fairfield Hills Authority chairman asked members, “How can we use our space in the best way? Can we get a formal event venue?” Later in the evening Mr Connors would say, “Fairfield Hills is moving toward becoming a true community space.”

He spoke recently with Parks and Recreation Department members regarding its 2013 property assessment, and Parks and Recreation Commission Chairman Ed Marks Tuesday night offered a brief overview of that plan. Explaining, Mr Connors said, “There is an opportunity to concentrate on an area of campus that can benefit all of us, and coincides with [Parks and Recreation’s] vision.” The area is visible from Wasserman Way, where soccer games are often played. Some future ball fields overlap an area that could serve as a large event space, such as the Newtown Arts Festival.

Mr Marks also agreed that fields could be used for community gathering, with a lot of parking room near the newer baseball diamond that sits to the left of the NYA Sports & Fitness Center.

Member Ross Carley several times during the meeting expressed his concern that fields are often enclosed with fencing, limiting the open space and forcing guests to walk around. Fencing is “not what we envision — no fencing,” Mr Marks said. Mr Carley also inquired about the number of fields in town already, asking, “How many do we need?”

Many of the fields are school fields Mr Marks noted, “So, access is limited.”

Mr Carley also stated that the campus would look like a sports complex “rather than open space.” Mr Marks said the original master plan for the campus reuse “meant to take care of community needs far into the future.” Additional ball field space has for several years been identified as a need.

Events such as the arts festival also often “ruin” the grass, Mr Connors noted, then asked about who fixes it.

“It’s fallen on town shoulders to repair and no budget to accommodate” Mr Marks said.

They considered the question of how those who use the campus could defray costs. “We have no formal structure in terms of how campus is used for events,” Mr Connors said. “I’d love to create a better way of doing things.”

Mr Connors then asked a question that “we’ve been asking for 12 years; what do we want to see happen on campus?” He said, “It’s starting to formulate, been percolating for a log time.” He mentioned that a community center “is coming,” and the police department may also relocate to Fairfield Hills from its current 3 South Main Street location. The community center will be a new construction, and planning is currently underway. “We have to support those ideas,” Mr Connors said.

He asked again, “How do we support community events and generate enough revenue to support [Fairfield Hills campus] if possible?”

Considering Parks and Recreation and other town departments, Mr Connors said, “We’re at a place where we have to grow the idea that we’re working as a unit.” Mr Marks noted other groups in town that also have an interest in using the campus. He said, too, that he is “excited at the prospect of coming up with a plan that works for all of us.”

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