By John Engel

Town Council Chairman

Christmas is behind us. Before the New Year’s excitement I’ll take this opportunity to thank some volunteers.


To Bill Walbert and John Sheffield, departing chairmen of the Town Council and Board of Finance. Neither asked for the job of chairman. John is a fiscal conservative: voted against an appropriation for land acquisition, an increase in the treasurer’s salary, and in the tax collection rate. It’s hard to say no, but you were tough. We will consider ourselves privileged to have a similarly involved leader in our next Board of Finance chair. Bill Walbert managed to lead the Town Council without ever saying a cross word. He told me the best part of the chairman’s job was thanking the incredible volunteers who serve this town everyday. Bill inspired this column.

The New Canaan Library

To Bob Butman and his Library board, the greatest example we have of a public-private partnership: The town pays only a fraction of your budget, far less than surrounding towns, and we recognize how deficient your current space is. We’ll ask you to build us a spectacular new library and tell us how you’ll pay for most of it privately (please!). All of New Canaan needs you to succeed. What you propose will last for generations.

The Waveny Park Conservancy

Thank you Bob Seelert and the Conservancy Board for exceeding all expectations in the 50th year of the Lapham gift, polishing the jewel of New Canaan. Trails are done, the cornfield is being renovated, gardens are planned, and restoration of the pond is a certainty after an outstanding gala earlier this month. Bravo.

The New Canaan Land Trust

To Art Berry and the Land Trust Board: Thank you for adding not just six acres in Fowler purchase but a vital public park in a neighborhood that had none. Thank you for linking the Nature Center to Irwin Park, pushing for a Land Acquisition Fund, and making us more appreciative of open space.

The Historical Society

To Mark Markiewicz and the other Historical Society board members working overtime to move beyond your revolutionary roots: Besides the Ice Cream Social, “House of Cars”, “Waveny, Then and Now”, “Art America,” and “New Canaan Modern Architects” in the Carriage Barn, you’re planning an art show on Orientalism, a belly-dancing performance, the Mad for Moderns gala, and the bi-annual Modern house Day Tour (Oct. 20, 2018). There’s a reason to go to 13 Oenoke besides the Advertiser Coffee.