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Norwalk bus tour ends on new beach pier

Democratic Common Council members Faye Bowman, left, and Eloisa Melendez help Mayor Harry Rilling cut a ribbon Saturday at Calf Pasture Beach.
Democratic Common Council members Faye Bowman, left, and Eloisa Melendez help Mayor Harry Rilling cut a ribbon Saturday at Calf Pasture Beach.
Calf Pasture Beach goers enjoy the new pier Saturday.
Calf Pasture Beach goers enjoy the new pier Saturday.

NORWALK, Conn. – A celebration of Norwalk parks began early Saturday for the city’s volunteer leaders and ended with a ribbon cutting out over the water at Calf Pasture Beach and lunch at Calfe Mu  – and a glimpse of a happy Norwalker reeling in sea robins.

Common Council, Board of Estimate and Taxation (BET) members, Recreation and Parks Department Director Mike Mocciae and one bus-crasher began their tour with a visit to Cranbury Park and a look at a tent donated by Stew Leonard’s. They ended it in grand fashion: out on the recently opened new pier in the best of summer weather.

Mayor Harry Rilling joined the crew for some quick laughs before cutting a ceremonial ribbon and lauding Mocciae.

“Mike, you’ve done an amazing job, not only on the beach but on all the parks,” Rilling said. “We know that times are tough and your staff gets cut, but you rose to the challenge like a good manager does. You still maintain the beach in amazing fashion.”

The new pier has been open for about two weeks.

“It’s been tremendously popular,” Recreation and Parks employee Susan Crotinger said. People are “catching fish like crazy,” and at sunset the fishing platform is completely full, she said.

“It feels so good, like you just arrived to the end of the Caribbean or something like that,” Crotinger said.

Timothy Freeman works to hook sea robins Saturday at Calf Pasture Beach.
Timothy Freeman works to hook sea robins Saturday at Calf Pasture Beach.

The old pier was blasted by both Hurricane Irene and Superstorm Sandy; the budget for the rebuild was $1.56 million, Mocciae said in April. The new pier includes six fish stations with water, benches, aluminum rails and a concrete sidewalk over the jetty. The end is 6 feet higher than that of the old pier and has two view finders from Tower Optical.

“I love it,” said Timothy Freeman, who was reeling in sea robins when the politicians came to visit. “I’ve been waiting for two years for it. I fished here all my life. I was waiting a long time,”

Freeman said he likes eating sea robin tail.

Deidre Panella enjoys lunch in Calfe Mu after joining the Norwalk parks tour organized for Norwalk politicians.
Deidre Panella enjoys lunch in Calfe Mu after joining the Norwalk parks tour organized for Norwalk politicians.

Deidre Panella rode along with the politicians on the bus. Rilling mentioned the tour when he was speaking at Wednesday’s beach concert, and Panella took him up on the apparent invitation.

She said stops included Freese Park, Flax Hill Park and Fodor Farm. She didn’t realize how big the parks are, she said. “Cranbury Park is so beautiful,” she said.

“The whole tour was just awesome,” BET Chairman Jim Clark said. “I hadn’t been to the Gallaher mansion since they had done some of the upgrades there. They had the big tent there, which is great for events.”

Renting the mansion and the 40-by-80-foot tent helps subsidize Cranbury Park, he said. The new area can accommodate seasonal weddings, corporate events, and fundraisers up to 220 people.

“I was surprised. Mike said there’s only one groundskeeper in the whole place,” Clark said.

Councilman John Kydes (D-District C) said Panella, a 60-year-old lifelong Norwalker, added to the tour as she remembered the history of all the stops.

“It was great seeing people back on the pier, enjoying a nice summer day,” Kydes said. “After taking the parks tour today, I have a new respect for the Parks Department. Norwalk parks are looking great!”

Attendees of a private party enjoy Cranbury Park on Saturday. Note the new tent at left. Food was provided by two food catering trucks.
Attendees of a private party enjoy Cranbury Park on Saturday. Note the new tent at left. Food was provided by two food catering trucks.

Comments

4 responses to “Norwalk bus tour ends on new beach pier”

  1. potaxpater

    mangement by intimidation, threats is poison and does not work (hal,lisa). parks & rec is a perfect example of what you get when you treat people with respect.

  2. Kevin Di Mauro

    Although I was born and raised in Norwalk almost 67 years ago, I think I have been on that pier only once. My memories include: smelly, bloody pieces of bait, various fish hooks and lures, tangled balls of fishing line, and fishermen whipping their fishing poles in your face as you try to walk by.
    I go to the beach to lie on the sand until hot and then cool off with a nice swim. Unfortunately, at low tide there is not much sand near the water. It’s all gravel. As far as I’m concerned, the recent hurricanes have been much more helpful in washing the sand down to the water than any city officials mentioned above.

  3. Taxpayer Fatigue

    Kudos to Mike Mocciae and the Parks and Rec department for doing such a great job on our parks!

  4. Ms Ruby McPherson

    Well, all the parks looks beautiful and especially Fodor Farm, as the money comes it should be spread around. There are still so much that can and should be done for that South Norwalk Park (Ryan). Let’s try not getting the cheapest play equipment the next time Mike. The money was there you could have gotten what was submitted. South Norwalk children are not savages!!!!!!!!!!!

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