WILTON — A new parking area for Bass Park, started with help from a Wilton couple, is nearing completion.

“We need a little more time but not much,” Town Manager Rhonda Irish said. “There’s more work to do but we’re getting there.”

Irish was speaking of work to clear the land located on Gilbert Street North, remove large boulders, grade and lay reclaimed material. Loam will be added around the front, along with a handicap-accessible walk between the lot and park. 

Taylor Construction will come in to finish grading the lot this week, she said. Scott Taylor volunteered the company’s help.

Culverts have been put in to handle some drainage issues. Water will flow toward a catch basin on Lake Road, she said.

A $30,000 gift from an anonymous Wilton couple has helped this part of “the dream” for the park come true, she said. The gift provided for the purchase price, closing and legal costs, as well as the lease of an excavator to help move the boulders and loam, she said.

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While employees of the town’s Public Works Department worked on the project Thursday, “the gift has provided for costs above and beyond the daily highway budget,” she said.

In October 2013, the couple offered the gift after reading in a newspaper that the project might be put off for another year while grants were pursued.

The couple had gone to the park during the summer and watched children play, Recreation Director Frank Donald told the Board of Selectpersons at the time.

They wanted to give to the town while they had time to see the good of it, he said.

“It is a good park, a great little place,” Jason Greenleaf said as he and Jeannette Lee brought her sons, Dwayne and Evan Nowell, to the park Thursday to play.

There is more work to be done and more dreams for the park to pursue, Irish said.

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The town purchased approximately three acres behind Bass Park with the intention to provide space for 10 to 12 cars. A buffer of trees will remain between the parking area and Route 2.  

A short walking trail was proposed for the rest of the land.

The new lot will provide safety for children at the playground. The park has a circular drive, but no real parking. Drivers park along the short, tarred area or on the grass as children scoot between the playground equipment and gazebo in the inner grassy circle.

Initially, Foothills Land Conservancy started the process of acquiring the land and fronted the funds to hold the property from being sold for development. The intent was for the land to eventually become town-owned.

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