NORWALK, Conn. – Ganga Duleep won the battle, bringing water to the South Norwalk park she fought to establish. But what is next for Ryan Park?
Two options are outlined for review at a meeting to be held next Tuesday. “This is not progress, what they are planning,” said Duleep.
Both options include a half-court basketball court, a children’s area (not a tot lot), a health and wellness loop, a community garden and open play space, according to a memo written by Gayle Epp of EJP Consulting Group LLC. The variables are the location of a water feature and how parking will be reconfigured, either to allow a green connection along Raymond Street or more open space in the park. Option 1 would keep outdoor event space near NEON; option 2 would put it near the Day Street/Raymond Street intersection. Option 2 would also include a pavilion, with grills and picnic tables.
Duleep, the driving force behind the Friends of Ryan Park, had been hoping for a jogging path, a health beat system for adults, a Weevos playground for 2- to 10-year-olds, a full-size basketball court, a baseball field and a labyrinth, among other things.
“Ryan Park belongs to all of us,” Duleep said to members of the Coalition of Norwalk Neighborhood Associations Monday night. “We have all been instrumental in saving that park.”
Residents of the area are invested in the park, coming to rescue plants before Hurricane Sandy came in, she said.
Her daughter, Common Council member Anna Duleep (D-At Large), said $65,000 had been set aside in the capital budget for Ryan Park, the only park in South Norwalk.
“Now we’ve had millions of dollars of damage,” she said, referring to Hurricane Sandy. “I’m a little worried that some of my colleagues may want to raid this account because we have some very legitimate needs in other parks.”
The meeting will be held at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the community room at police headquarters.
City officials are hoping to get the community’s input, while naysayers point out that many members of the South Norwalk community will not go into the police station.
“We have heard over and over the police department is not the place to hold these meetings,” said CNNA President Julie Burton.
Ganga Duleep said, “I will come up with my own plan and I will post it on Facebook. I am asking for the sun, the moon and the stars.”