First best kept secret: The Town of Orange will soon be building a half million-dollar playground at Fred Wolfe Park as the awardee of two grants from the State of Connecticut. I am totally in favor of this playground and think this will be a wonderful benefit for our children. We especially need this playground for daytime use as the current playgrounds in Orange are not accessible while schools are in session. I will be the first in line to volunteer to help to build it. In fact, I organized all the volunteers for the original playground built at Mary L. Tracy.
However, I do have concern for the location chosen by the First Selectman. As of this date, the Orange Park & Recreation commissioners have not reviewed or approved this location. This playground is being squeezed in at the entrance of Fred Wolfe Park and the end of Hollow Road – inexplicably considering the 15-plus acres of flat land available at the park.
Even under the current circumstances, parking at Fred Wolfe Park is inadequate for the soccer and lacrosse teams that are scheduled. The parking area is often completely full, with no additional space to park. Cars are backed up on Hollow Road waiting to get into the park. The driveway does not safely allow two-way traffic, nor is there a walkway for pedestrians or bicycles…let alone carriages!
If we build a playground at this entrance location, I’m concerned we will have to close the playground or cancel games every time the parking lot is full, which I anticipate will happen every weekend.
I have personally experienced this while organizing soccer for 22 years at Fred Wolfe. I spend all day Saturday and Sunday at both Mary L. Tracy and Fred Wolfe Park and many times have not found a parking spot. I have not seen our First Selectman visit the park to personally see the parking/traffic nightmare on Sundays.
I have been organizing Orange Youth Soccer Association for 36 years in Orange. All children are treated like they are my own. I hope my reputation proceeds me on safety concerns for your children.
Second best kept secret: For the last 21 years a large part of Fred Wolfe Park has been farmed for corn. The park has 15 plus acres of flat land. The farming has been done by a local resident. The land is leased out for two years by the Selectmen. The town receives $150 for two years. The original master plan approved and dated on January 2013 showed a phase 6 for field development. All of Fred Wolfe Park was purchased as passive recreation. The plan below shows the phase 6 location for a playground. This location would allow a separate entrance and parking for the playground. This layout will allow for playground expansion and access for all, including the young Lacrosse and Soccer players at Fred Wolf Park to enjoy after their games.
Please see the Phase 6 layout of Fred Wolfe Park. This is where the playground belongs. Please let me and the Town Selectmen know your opinion on the location for the playground. Feel free to call my cell number at 203 609-1392 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tom Pisano, Orange Soccer Association Co-President