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.
Town officials last week approved a $26,000 contract with a Bridgeport-based environmental company to clean out an oil tank at Waveny House and replace its service lines. The lines right now are taking in water and that’s causing the burner to blow out so that town workers have to restart it, according to Public Works Director Tiger Mann. “We need new service lines installed,” Mann told the Board of Selectmen at its regular meeting, held Aug. 21 at Town Hall. “They are putting in a new fill tank on top.”
First Selectman Kevin Moynihan and Selectmen Kit Devereaux and Nick Williams voted in favor of a $26,311 contract with CTR Industries.
After months of planning and “yard work,” a newly designed formal garden at Waveny House is in place and residents say they’re enjoying it. Those visiting the town park can now use additional benches as they walk through new plantings, boxwoods and shrubbery along the northern wall of the “parterre garden,” just east of the balcony behind the mansion. “Sitting on the back patio of Waveny and looking down at the parterre, you are transported to England or France,” said New Canaan Garden Club First Vice President Manda Riggs. New Canaan resident Cassidy Little visited the garden on a recent afternoon and is looking to use it as a backdrop for a photography project. “I’m very familiar with Waveny, I run through its trails almost every day in the fall,” she said.
[Editor’s Note: The following “Statement of significance” has been prepared in advance of the April 26 Forum on Public Buildings, to be held 6:30 to 9 p.m. at Town Hall—more information is available here and questions for panelists can be submitted here. Most of the information in the bullet points below is drawn from the Town Building Evaluation & Use Committee report.]
Built: ca. 1912
Square footage: 36,000
Current uses: Private and community events; town Recreation, Information Technology Departments
Committee recommendations: More profitable “hospitality” function of first floor; extensive renovation of second floor to provide more space for municipal use; use third floor/attic for required document and other storage. Relevant news articles: Birdcage Elevator Could be Best Option to Bring Waveny House Up to ADA Compliance (April 2018), Seeking More Info, Town Council Hits Pause on $1 Million Request for Waveny House (March 2018), ‘You Literally Just Salivate’: Officials Evaluating Town Buildings See Potential in Waveny House (April 2017)
Submitted by Lea Cromwell:
Waveny Park encompasses the planned landscape of the first resident, Thomas Hall, and later of the second resident, Lewis Lapham and his children, as an “American Country Place.”
The Hall Era: Thomas B. Hall, President of the American Hide and Leather Co1, in 1895 purchased the 90-acre farm of the 18th century Elisha Leeds, creating the winding driveways and stone gateposts that remain today. He built a three-story Dutch Colonial residence with views over Long Island Sound.
Town officials on Tuesday approved a $34,700 contract with a Warren, Conn.-based company to repair stone walls around Waveny House. The Board of Selectmen voted 2-0 to approve the contract with Meduri Masonry, a company that Public Works Director tiger Mann said “has done some very good work for using the past on various projects throughout town.”
“This is for wall repairs in and around the house itself,” Mann told the selectmen at their meeting, held at Town Hall. “These will be comprised of the one existing wall that is adjacent to the parterre garden that is being replaced right now, and the wall to the north of it has actually collapsed over time.”
First Selectman Kevin Moynihan and Selectman Kit Devereaux voted in favor of the contract, which includes $30,200 plus $4,500 in contingency. Selectman Nick Williams was absent. “This is a town-funded project, this is not a partnership with the [Waveny Park] Conservancy, and the funds are currently available,” Mann said.