New Canaan Preservation Alliance

Recent Articles

Selectmen Split on Demolishing ‘Mead Park Brick Barn’

Selectman Kit Devereaux on Tuesday called for the town to halt the planned demolition of the structure known as the “Mead Park Brick Barn” on Richmond Hill Road. 

While many in town, including Devereaux herself, are “not necessarily attached to the building,” she said, “I have huge regard for the [New Canaan] Preservation Alliance.”

“And I think if they have got a plan and they want to move forward with this, we can save $65,000 and we can honor an important organization,” Devereaux said at the Board of Selectmen’s regular meeting, held in Town Hall, referring to the estimated cost of demolition. “It has been standing there for over 100 years. I do not understand what a year or two more will matter.”

As of now, the Brick Barn—or “Richmond Hill garage,” as it alternately is known—is slated for demolition Oct. 23. The town on July 14 applied to demolish the 1911-built structure on the northern edge of Mead Park where Standard Oil’s horse-drawn delivery wagons used to fill containers for fuel delivery in New Canaan. Continue Reading →

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Q&A: New Canaan Preservation Group Seeks Long-Term Lease for ‘Mead Park Brick Barn’

With about six weeks remaining until the town is cleared to demolish the Mead Park Brick Barn, a local nonprofit organization dedicated to preservation of historic structures is making a major push to see building spared from the wrecking ball. The New Canaan Preservation Alliance has launched a website dedicated to the brick structure at 64 Richmond Hill Road, sometimes referred to as the ‘Richmond Hill Garage.’ In May, First Selectman Kevin Moynihan broke a 6-6 tie on the Town Council to keep $65,000 for razing the Brick Barn in a larger municipal bonding package. In July, the NCPA came forward with an initial proposal to preserve the building that Moynihan described as not “credible.” The town applied (to itself) for a demolition permit and the founder of the NCPA promptly filed a formal letter of objection. That forced the Historical Review Committee to decide whether a 90-day demolition delay was in order, and it did. 

Now, as the clock ticks on the delay, the NCPA is coming forward with a plan for the Brick Barn’s preservation, and is expected to make its case before the Town Council at the legislative body’s regular meeting Wednesday. Major open questions facing the NCPA include whether it’s prepared to fund the restoration and ongoing maintenance of the Brick Barn, what would be its future use and just how the organization could undo the municipal process of demolition at this point. Continue Reading →

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Town Council Votes 10-0 To Support Boundary of Waveny Described in Application for Listing on National Register

New Canaan’s legislative body last week voted unanimously in support of a boundary set forth in an application to list Waveny on the National Register of Historic Places. Once a matter of deep division and some agonizing among Town Council members, the elected body’s 10-0 vote marks a big step toward formally seeking the largely honorific designation for Waveny. 

Worked out by a Pawtucket, R.I.-based nonprofit organization with input from the New Canaan Preservation Alliance, state historic preservation officials and others, the boundary that will define the Waveny listing encompasses much of the park as regular visitors have come to know it. “The boundary reflects the development of Waveny lands over time from the 18th Century to the present day and the layers of settlement and agriculture and state and town park history that make it such an interesting and attractive place,” Rose Scott Long, co-president of the NCPA, told member of the Town Council at their regular meeting. 

“As stated in the nomination documentation, Waveny is a testament to the town’s thoughtful stewardship of the property, in keeping with Ruth Lapham Lloyd’s wishes and use restrictions that she conveyed to the town for public benefit,” Scott Long said at the July 18 meeting, held in Town Hall. “Listing in the National Register is primarily an honor, makes properties eligible for owners to apply for public grants for preservation and consideration for fire and life safety code compliance alternatives.”

The boundary follows the Merritt Parkway to the south and South Avenue to the east. On the west side, it follows the Metro-North Railroad tracks to Old Stamford Road and runs north but does not include the Waveny Care Center property. Continue Reading →

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Did You Hear … ?

The video above was produced by New Canaan High School seniors Sean Manzella and PJ Sensbach as part of their work in the Senior Internship Program. The pair have an internship with the program’s coordinator, Heather Bianco, and are spotlighting participants. More videos can be seen here. ***

NCHS has been ranked No. 7 in Fairfield County and No. Continue Reading →

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How Involved Should Residents Be in Deciding the Future of Public Buildings?

Though their input is valuable, New Canaan taxpayers ultimately should rely on their elected and appointed representatives to make decisions regarding the future of town-owned buildings rather than put such questions to a public referendum, officials say. Structures such as Gores Pavilion, Vine Cottage and Irwin House “don’t exist in a vacuum” and their capital needs are part of “a very fluid process,” Board of Finance member and Town Building Evaluation & Use Committee co-chair Amy Murphy Carroll said during the recent Forum on Public Buildings. Responding to a suggestion that putting key decisions on public buildings to a ballot so that residents can determine “what they do with their tax dollars,” Murphy Carroll questioned “how that it would be all that productive to do that.”

“You elected the people on the Town Council, right?” she said during the April 26 forum, held at Town hall. “You elected your representatives.”

While Murphy Carroll and her fellow panelists—First Selectman Kevin Moynihan, Town Council Chairman John Engel, and Town Council members Cristina A. Ross and Penny Young, who also served as committee co-chair—agreed that input from the community is greatly encouraged and appreciated, she and others stressed that residents should also trust them to make the best decisions for the town. Young said that there need to be more public forums allowing residents to express their opinions about how the buildings should be used. Continue Reading →

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