Mead Park Brick Barn

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Richmond Hill Neighbors Weigh In on Future of ‘Mead Park Brick Barn’

The pending demolition of the Mead Park Brick Barn has drawn polarizing reactions from the community—while preservationists advocate for its historical and cultural value, at least some of those who favor its razing live in the long-vacant building’s immediate area. Amy Wilkinson lives in the townhouse off of Richmond Hill, and said she is “very much anticipating the demolition of the structure” and is “very happy it is finally going to happen. The building is “an eyesore” for residents and “doesn’t have a particular function and it hasn’t for a long time,” she told NewCanaanite on a recent afternoon. According to Sandy Kelly, a relative newcomer tof Richmond Hill Road, the decaying structure has not been actively preserved and has attracted “delinquent behaviors” in some cases. Wilkinson confirmed that there is “a tendency for people to hang out around here.”

According to Chris Orelup of Richmond Hill Road has described the building as an “eyesore” and noted that demolishing up with open up the neighborhood to “an uninterrupted view of Mead Park from Richmond Hill and Grove that will be lovely.”

“I believe that the vast majority of those who actually live in the neighborhood will be very glad to have it gone,” Orelup said. Continue Reading →

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Formal Objection to Demolition of ‘Mead Park Brick Barn’ Filed; 90-Day Demo Delay Possible

Days after New Canaan’s highest elected official dismissed a bid to preserve a long-vacant town-owned structure on Richmond Hill Road, a resident seeking to stave off demolition has filed a formal objection to that end. Mimi Findlay, a founder of the New Canaan Preservation Alliance, in a letter filed with the town’s chief building official, reviews the history of the “Mead Park Brick Barn” and makes a case for its historical and architectural significance. 

Under the Town Code, the volunteer Historical Review Committee will study the matter and, if that panel finds that the structure “is of historical, architectural or cultural significance to the Town of New Canaan,” it can force a 90-day delay on the demolition from the date of the demo permit application. 

First Selectman Kevin Moynihan said that application went into the town last week. 

The question of whether to demolish the building has come before the town in the past, and has stirred high emotion on both sides. The question of whether to demolish the Mead Park Brick Barn—or “Richmond Hill Garage,” as it has been called—has divided the town for many years. Though the town did vote in favor of razing the building—records show that demolition permits had been issued in April 2009 and August 2010—doing so proved to be cost-prohibitive due to the need for asbestos and lead paint remediation, sending the estimated cost of demolition to about $400,000. Then a new, far smaller figure of $65,000 emerged during last budget season. Continue Reading →

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First Selectman Dismisses Last-Minute Proposal To Preserve ‘Mead Park Brick Barn’

New Canaan’s highest elected official said Tuesday that he’s rejected a proposal from a local organization seeking to preserve a brick structure on Richmond Hill Road that’s slated for demolition. According to First Selectman Kevin Moynihan, members of the New Canaan Preservation Alliance approached him this week with a plan to lease the “Mead Park Brick Barn” or “Richmond Hill Garage” for $1 per year for 99 years “and that they go out and find government funding to restore the building for some purpose.”

“And they would find a tenant,” Moynihan told fellow members of the Board of Selectmen during the group’s regular meeting, held at Town Hall. 

“I don’t find this to be a credible proposal. The Preservation Alliance is really an advocacy group as opposed to a partner like the Waveny [Park] Conservancy or Athletic Foundation or Land Trust, where people have raised substantial funds to co-partner with the town on the project. So I do not think there is much reliability here to work with them on the basis of turning the building over to them to seek government grants.”

His comments came during a discussion of general matters at the selectmen meeting. The NCPA representatives involved could not be reached for comment. Continue Reading →

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Op-Ed: Balancing Progress and Preservation

It takes the perspective of time to balance the pace of progress working to shape the future versus the desire to preserve the past. Lately in New Canaan it seems that the majority of projects proposing change and progress toward an ever changing future have been met with cries to preserve the past. I guess that is human nature at its fundamental best—the struggle to remember the past while pursuing the future. Such is the plight of many buildings in New Canaan. There is no question that our town is fortunate to have a vibrant history that we should all be willing to embrace. Continue Reading →

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First Selectman Breaks 6-6 Tie To Advance Demolition of ‘Mead Park Brick Barn’

Though some argued that it makes little sense to rush an irretrievable decision when a viable alternative has emerged, members of New Canaan’s legislative body and the first selectman on Wednesday pushed forward the demolition of a widely discussed brick structure on Richmond Hill Road. First Selectman Kevin Moynihan broke a 6-6 tie on the Town Council to preserve $65,000, as part of a larger proposed bonding package, for razing the “Mead Park Brick Barn” or “Richmond Hill Garage.”

New Canaan Baseball has said it’s interested in using the 1901-built, two-story structure, opposite the bottom of Grove Street, for meetings and storage. Yet some on the Council questioned the organization’s ability to make the structure usable and maintain it. “I am totally in favor of giving [New Canaan Baseball] a reasonable amount of time, but I think the building should be taken down unless there is a credible plan,” Moynihan told members of the Town Council as he cast a vote in favor of preserving the money for demolition. It wasn’t immediately clear what are the criteria for “a credible plan,” or how long “a reasonable amount of time” is, though Councilmen noted that a 90-day delay is likely from the time the town applies for the demolition permit. Continue Reading →

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