Selectman: More Public Input Is Needed on Future of Vine Cottage, Irwin House

More public input is needed before New Canaan gets closer to funding projects that bring major changes to the use and ownership of town-owned buildings such as Vine Cottage, Irwin House and the former Outback Teen Center, Selectman Kit Devereaux said Tuesday. There hasn’t been any real discussion in public about renting Irwin House to nonprofit organizations, for example, yet a process appears to be underway to start funding work to that end, according to Devereaux. “I am concerned, for instance, that in renovating—and I have no idea how much it would cost to do the full renovation of the Outback,” Devereaux said during the Board of Selectmen’s regular meeting, held at Town Hall. “By doing that I presume it would be a fait accompli to move Human Services over there which then creates a vacant building, and I just think before the Vine Cottage is put on the block, that there should be a lot of public discussion and the public should weigh in, even a referendum.”

Her comments came as the selectmen discussed proposed bond resolutions that are to go before municipal funding bodies and are related to future capital projects. They include $50,000 to plan for the renovation of the lower level at the former Outback Teen Center for office use and $80,000 for similar work at Irwin House.

Selectmen Approve $100,000 Contract for Windows at Irwin Barn; Some Broken by Vandalism

Town officials last week approved a $100,000 contract to restore broken windows at the 1908-built Irwin Barn, including some that resulted from vandalism. The Board of Selectmen voted unanimously at its regular meeting for the contract with Ridgefield-based Alden Bailey Restoration, one of two companies that put in a bid for the job. “They need a lot of health and care to get back up to par,” Buildings Superintendent Bill Oestmann told the selectmen at their Oct. 9 meeting, held in Town Hall. “There’s a couple that will have to be replaced.”

First Selectman Kevin Moynihan and Selectmen Kit Devereaux and Nick Williams voted 3-0 for $101,200 contract, which includes $9,200 in contingency.

First Selectman Calls for New Committee of Architects To Recommend Future Projects at Waveny House

New Canaan’s highest elected official said Tuesday that he would like to appoint a new committee of architects to set a strategy for capital improvements at Waveny House. A project to introduce air-conditioning at Waveny, for example, and overhaul its HVAC system, would cost $2.5 million, according to First Selectman Kevin Moynihan. “Do we want to do that?” Moynihan said during a regular meeting of the Board of Selectmen, held at Town Hall. “We would look to this committee to recommend what would be the strategy. So we would not be planning to do an $8 million or $10 million or $12 million renovation of Waveny House.