A local dance studio is lined up to rent the upper level of the former Outback Teen Center on a part-time basis, town officials said Wednesday night. With the studio operating from about 4:30 to 8:30 p.m. on weekdays, and restricted from putting on performances there, the town could rent out the space for the balance of the day, generating revenue that—combined with an estimated $35,000 that the studio would pay annually in rent—would help New Canaan cover its maintenance costs for the long-vacant structure, according to Bill Oestmann, superintendent of buildings with the Department of Public Works. (Oestmann declined to name the specific studio, though some of what he said indicated it could be the New England Academy of Dance—see below.)
As long discussed, the lower level of the Outback could be configured into office space for the Department of Human Services, an agency that would leave its current home in Vine Cottage so that that building could be sold, Oestmann told members of the Town Council at their regular meeting. Oestmann said he could foresee parents dropping off their kids and then visiting local businesses. “My hope would be if they are waiting, they can park here and shop downtown, so with an hour or two that their children are there, they can hopefully visit the restaurants and shops in town and spend some money,” he said at the meeting, held in Town Hall.
By the time the dance studio would start up around 4:30 or 5 p.m., he said, Town Hall workers would be finished for the day and the parking lot there empty.
“There is a little breathing room in that timeframe,” he said.