Filling a Seasonal Void
The Ridgefield Winter Club will fill a seasonal void and give families a new place for recreation and to gather socially in the winter, in an environment similar to summer months. Ridgefield has a broad selection of recreational and social options in the summer, including country clubs, golf courses, pool clubs, and parks, while the winter does not. It has become increasingly easier to remain indoors throughout the winter given modern electronics, safety concerns with local ponds that do not freeze as often or as thick as they once did, and home rinks that are time consuming and expensive to build and maintain. The RWC will provide a wintertime gathering place for social, face-to-face interaction while enjoying and experiencing outside skating and winter activity.
Travel hockey will not be a part of the RWC program.
Working directly with Ridgefield’s tax assessor, the Ridgefield Winter Club estimates a five-fold increase in the property taxes that the RWC will pay to help fund vital town services -- and help keep the burden on individual taxpayers low. This is an especially important addition given our current fiscal environment where we are witnessing a challenging local fiscal situation and Hartford cutting back funds across the state.
The addition of the RWC to the community will also add jobs, continue to position Ridgefield as a desirable town for families, and further differentiate it from neighboring communities. The RWC will be a unique asset to the town and a premium outdoor skating facility for our area. Historically, athletic facilities -- along with good schools -- are two magnets that drive families’ relocation decisions, and this project will help attract new residents and bolster property values.
A Good Neighbor
We know how important it is to be a good neighbor. That is why from the outset, we are committed to limiting the hours, the months and the usage of the Club and ice rink.
The Ridgefield Winter Club will be fully operational from November through March. The Clubhouse will close at 11 p.m. and all outside recreational activities will cease by 9:45 p.m., or earlier, and lights out at 10 p.m., or earlier. Weekday mornings, skating only will begin at 7 a.m. On weekends, the rink will open at 8 a.m.
In April/May and September/October, the RWC's Clubhouse will likely be open 3-4 days a week, and the ice rink area will be closed.
The entire RWC will be closed in June, July, and August.
By incorporating proper aiming angles, as well as internal and external controls, we are able to keep all of the light within our property. The RWC will use the latest state-of-the-art LED sports lighting technology. Our approach will provide an appropriate and safe amount of light for players.
The RWC will meet Ridgefield’s stringent noise regulations. The RWC will be built with a combination of berms, fences, along with a rink and building design that – from the ground up – is intended to eliminate any potential noise effects outside of the property lines, per town code.
With no travel hockey included in the RWC program, attendance at the RWC will largely consist of members and their guests. We expect a similar traffic pattern to other private clubs in town that experience little to no traffic issues. FP Clarke & Associates has been commissioned to perform a traffic study. Upon submitting a formal application to Planning & Zoning, the traffic study will be made available to the public.
The RWC’s plan calls for about 95 parking spaces to keep all parking on the property and off the streets.
Existing Site Conditions: Old, Deteriorating Pinchbeck Nursery
Replacing Nonconforming Land Use
The RWC is a proposed private club that is allowed by special permit, defined under recreational uses, and aligns with current zoning priorities set by the town.
Since Ridgefield adopted its first zoning regulations, recreational private clubs have always been allowed by special permit in residential zones. Similar to golf clubs and swim clubs, the RWC will offer a facility to those seeking an outlet during the winter, which the existing clubs can not fulfill.
Furthermore, the RWC will replace the current legal nonconforming use (which is the status of the nursery today) with a fully compliant conforming use.
Like the town’s ball fields and recreation centers, neighborhood pools, and the ice rink, current Ridgefield planning and zoning regulation defines them as recreational facilities that are permitted in residential zones by special permit, and have always been allowed in order to improve the quality of life.
This premier facility will be professionally managed by a full-time General Manager, Bud Brown. Bud is a 15-year resident of Ridgefield, who is active in the community and possesses extensive professional experience in the capital markets as well as the world of skating.
Recipient of the Andrew Allison Haldane Cup at Bowdoin College “awarded to a member of the senior class who has outstanding qualities of leadership and character,” Bud went on to spend 12 years at Greenwich Capital Markets before becoming a Partner and Chief Operating Officer at Mariner Silvermine.
Bud also played hockey for Fairfield Prep, Canterbury and Bowdoin College; served as volunteer Board Member, Coach and Hockey Director for Ridgefield Amateur Hockey Association (RAHA Lions); coached Darien Travel Youth Hockey; and founded Nanook Hockey, LLC.
Your support is important!
Help bring a premier, family-oriented winter destination to Ridgefield that builds camaraderie and community.