WILTON — The circular drive at Bass Park was barricaded Wednesday after future plans for the park were announced Tuesday night.

Signs will be posted urging drivers to use the new parking lot off Gilbert Street, Town Manager Rhonda Irish told those gathered for a ribbon cutting celebration of the new parking area.

The park plans were given a boost with a surprise donation given by a Chesterville family.

After reading about the celebration in the Sun Journal Monday, Ross Clair of Chesterville contacted Irish to offer a memorial gift in memory of his father, Darrold Clair who passed away July 3.

Clair and three of his brothers, Todd Clair of Albuquerque, New Mexico; Gary Clair of Chicago and Jeffrey Clair of Fairfield who are here for their father’s service, toured the park Monday and decided the donation was appropriate, Clair said.

Darrold Clair was President of the Franklin County Stamp and Coin Club that met in Wilton in the 1960’s, Ross Clair said.  Harold Karkos of Wilton was also a large part of that group, he said.

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Ross Clair has his own connections to Wilton,  he said of the desire to give back to this community.  

Todd Clair then presented Irish with a check for $1,500.

It was another donation of $30,000 from an anonymous Wilton couple that provided for the first phase of changes to the park including the purchase and clearing of adjoining land for the parking area.

Many travelers come down Gilbert Street from Route 2, a short distance to the park. They enjoy a picnic and go back on to the highway, Frank Donald, recreation director, said.

“This is their first and perhaps only impression of the town,” he said of the park that looks out over Wilson Lake.

The next phase of changes includes barricading the park’s circular drive on a trial basis this summer with hopes of perhaps tearing up the pavement and seeding the space next year.

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The space will provide for a larger gazebo where a small band can play for concerts or a wedding take place, Irish told those gathered.

It will also provide more safety for children who scoot between the playground equipment and the gazebo. Cars park around and move within the circle drive located between the two.

The well-built smaller gazebo that is there now would be moved to Bishop Park in East Wilton.

Donations of labor, especially carpentry, and money are welcome to help realize that dream, she said.

Another plan is to upgrade some of the playground equipment.

Donald thanked everyone for the work involved so far as he prepared to cut a symbolic ribbon.

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“It was not a one-man show,” he said. “There was a lot to do to get this going.”

Donald especially thanked Dale Roberts, foreman, and the town’s Public Works Department for their work on the lot and also Scott Taylor for volunteering some help from employee Craig Hutchinson and equipment from his company, Taylor Construction.

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.

Short walking trails have been proposed for part of the property.

A handicap accessible path leads from the new parking area in to the park.

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