NEW FAIRFIELD — Those who visit the New Fairfield playground this summer will notice something new and quite large inside it — a pavilion.
The 16-by-24-foot pavilion, at 54 Gillotti Road, fits about 20 people. It has a concrete floor and is large enough to have two to three tables under it.
Town resident Rene O’Connell, mother of Kasey, 9, and Paige, 5, said she’s looking forward to using the new pavilion in the coming months.
“I think it’s positioned great. You get a great view of the park. Also, if you have a kid who’s playing on the field for a practice or game, or one playing inside the park, you can keep an eye on everyone at the same time,” O’Connell said, adding that she can sit in the shade, bring a blanket and get away from ticks.
The pavilion is an enhancement to the playground and will be used for activities, as a source of shade and for coverage from the rain, according to Jane Stagno, programs coordinator for the New Fairfield Parks and Recreation Department.
“The park and rec commission chose to build the pavilion in that spot because it not only serves its main base of the playground, but it also may be used for parents watching their children on the rebel turf fields in inclement weather,” said New Fairfield resident Fred Testor, who is one of the nine park and recreation commission members who developed and coordinated the project.
The New Fairfield summer day camp will be making use of the pavilion for activities this summer, Stagno said.
The New Fairfield Parks and Recreation Department is a self-sustaining organization. All revenue raised goes right back into its programs, free events and funding projects such as the pavilion.
The New Fairfield playground is about 30 years old. It was installed around 1987 and rebuilt in 2012.
“It was originally a wooden structure playground that was built by volunteers in town,” Testor said. “Eight years ago, parks and recreation became aware it was getting run down and no longer met safety requirements, so we replaced it with a modern playground. This was done over a three year period. We are still adding on to it now, little by little.
“We added on park benches and picnic tables this last fall, and the latest part of the project was adding the pavilion for shade for the parents,” Testor said. “It will be more comfortable for the parents and a nice area to sit in, especially during the hottest part of the year.”
The area that the pavilion was constructed on previously stood empty.
“We voted on the project a year ago, and it took several months to build,” Testor said.
He explained that the New Fairfield playground is located right in the heart of town. “We have here the town playground, the athletic fields and bocce and basketball courts. We also have the town dog park, which is widely successful — and we are constantly adding on to the park,” he said.
The next project at the park will be adding additional picnic areas and benches for the playground, a second court and a new artificial turf field.
By Sandra Diamond Fox