In Wolfe Park, Sensitive Design Continues The Master Plan Vision
Wolfe Park is comprised of 379 acres of parkland, approximately one-half of which has been acquired in the years since the late 1960s when TPA first prepared a master plan for a multi-purpose municipal park. From the beginning the Master Plan provided for active and passive recreation uses in what has become the core area of the park, including the creation of a man-made lake as the result of a town-sponsored operation to excavate and sell sand and gravel from the western portion of the site.
TPA assisted the Town with obtaining the state/federal grant that was used to develop the eastern portion of the park in 1973 in accord with plans and specifications prepared by TPA, and designed the improvements that brought the 16 acre man-made Great Hollow Lake on-line for community use. Program elements included a beach/swimming area, river realignment, perimeter trail connecting Wolfe Park and Great Hollow, boat launch, bathhouse/pavilion, tot play area, picnic area, open play area, storm drainage improvements and entrance road and parking improvements. TPA also completed the Finding of No Significant Impact in accordance with the requirements of the Connecticut Environmental Policy Act.
Over the years, TPA has been called upon to modify the Master Plan as additional properties have been acquired or donated. Today the Park offers a range of activities, including 8 tennis courts (4 lighted), 2 lit basketball courts, 7 ball fields and 4 soccer fields; a 25 meter outdoor swimming pool with bathhouse; hiking trails and picnic areas for groups and families; a 700 foot beach, swimming, fishing, and non-motorized boating at Great Hollow Lake; 3 playgrounds; concessions and vending area; and parking.A 4.1 mile section of the Housatonic Railbed trail, also designed by TPA, passes through the park. After 30 years Wolfe Park continues to grow and serve the community.
In 2002, TPA completed a plan for expansion of the developed portion of the park to provide additional ballfields, extend the walking trail system and provide a multi-purpose park structure. TPA was also involved with the site design and planning for demolition of the existing pool and construction of the new swimming facility.
TPA recently completed construction drawings for two multi-use fields which will be built in 2018. The fields are intended to increase the availability of active recreational areas for youth soccer, football, and other programs. Existing buildable space within the park was exhausted, so a different approach was needed to find suitable locations. Two areas were identified through site analysis as being the most feasible for fields. However, both locations were adjacent to a wetland, and one of the fields would require a crossing to be created in order to reach it.
To limit impacts on the wetland, culverts will be provided under walking paths where they cross the existing wetland system. Existing fieldstone walls, where disturbed by construction, will be relocated or rebuilt. Native shrubs, in conjunction with low-mow grasses, will create a buffer where the fields abut the wetlands. Proposed improvements also include new access paths, graded playing fields, band split-rail fencing. Vehicular access will be controlled by means of removable bollards at the path entrance. New LED lighting will be provided in the nearby parking lot to improve visibility for late afternoon activities.
The addition of these two fields to Wolfe Park will continue a nearly fifty year legacy of design and community improvements for TPA .