Did You Hear … ?

Police at 7:55 a.m. Thursday arrested a 47-year-old Binghamton, N.Y. man and charged him with second-degree failure to appear. The man turned himself in on an active paperless re-arrest warrant. He’d been arrested in October 2014 and charged by New Canaan Police with sixth-degree larceny, court records show. ***

The proposed selectmen’s budget unveiled this week includes earmarks of $30,000 for fiscal year 2023 and $250,000 the following year for the Animal Control shelter. First Selectman Kevin Moynihan said Thursday that if the New Canaan YMCA doesn’t take over the vacated residence at Kiwanis Park under a possible future partnership with the town, the structure could be converted for use as a new animal shelter.

‘He Kept Walking’: Hundreds Attend Stirring MLK Day Service in New Canaan

The Rev. Christian Peele on Monday morning told a story that her father had told to her, set in his native small town in eastern North Carolina in the late-1950s. 

Just nine or 10 years old at the time, Peele’s father and his fellow townspeople were reached by the message of an Atlanta-born, Alabama minster who’d helped orchestrate the Montgomery bus boycott a few years earlier—a message “that the current state of things was not the final word, and that freedom, peace, access and change could be real,” Peele recalled, addressing more than 250 people gathered at United Methodist Church for 18th Annual Interfaith Service of Worship, celebrating the life of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. 

Under tenets of nonviolence and King’s vision of both systemic and individual change, the Civil Rights Movement was in full swing, Peele said, and the community of Williamston, N.C. “began to organize intensively, meeting at big brick church in middle of the black part of town.”

One morning, some 100 teenagers and adults gathered on the church lawn, ready to march to the courthouse in the middle of town, “raising their signs and their voices for the right to vote,” Peele said. “My dad says he can still hear their hands clapping and their feet stumping, and the songs they sang as they marched one mile, and then another,” she recalled. “And he felt as much a part of the march as every other person there, his little feet carrying him step by step. ‘We Shall Overcome,’ they sang. ‘Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around,’ they sang.

Did You Hear … ?

The town on Jan. 10 received a notice of intent to sue on behalf of a woman said to have sustained multiple injuries when tree branches fell on her one evening last month. Rachel Coder Matthews sustained head laceration, fractured spine, headaches, concussion and brain hemorrhage as a result of the incident along Lapham Road at Waveny, according to attorney Steven Landis of Stamford-based The Pickel Law Firm LLC. It happened at about 7 p.m. on Dec. 17, he said in a Notice of Claim filed with the Town Clerk’s office.

VIDEO: New Canaan Library Unveils Dramatic Rebuilding Plans

New Canaan Library on Tuesday unveiled plans for a rebuilt facility that makes dramatically different use of the organization’s gateway block to the downtown and features a glass-and-stone exterior, 300-seat auditorium, rooftop terrace, café, public concourse, fireplace, two large conference rooms and “town green” at the corner of Main and Cherry Streets. Appearing before the Board of Finance ahead of making a formal request for a $10 million town contribution toward the overall $30 million project, library officials described the planned new building as a state-of-the-art facility that opens possibilities in events, programming and gathering for the library and the wider community.  

Library Director Lisa Oldham noted that the real estate and business communities already have voiced support for the project, and that the rebuilt facility is expected to be an asset for New Canaan that draws homebuyers and encourages residents to stay here. She shared projections from a draft economic impact study that the library commissioned the Connecticut Economic Research Council showing “that the library will drive significant new dollars to the local economy, up to $6 million a year in new consumer spending.”

“The town’s critical capital allocation for the library should be viewed as an investment with a clear and quantifiable return in the form of real economic gains that will stimulate our local economy,” Oldham said during the Board’s regular meeting at Town Hall, attended by a standing room-only crowd. 

The library itself has already raised about $15 million toward the project and plans call for a spring 2021 groundbreaking followed by 18 to 24 months of construction. The current building would operate while the new one is built. 

The new 48,000-square-foot building would replace an aging facility with a failing, costly physical plant that hasn’t had a significant renovation in four decades, Oldham said. 

During their presentation to the Board, Oldham and the library’s director of development and marketing, Ellen Crovatto, played a short film that featured 3D renderings of the planned new library’s interior and exterior (see above—it drew loud applause from the room), reviewed the need for a new facility and efforts to solicit input from locals, spotlighted the library’s high community engagement and broke down to-date fundraising successes for the project (including 55-plus gifts of $100,000 or more). 

Board members complimented Oldham and Crovatto on their presentation and plans, which Michael Chen called “mind-blowing.”

“I really think this is a game-changer for the town of New Canaan,” Chen said.

Did You Hear … ?

New Canaan Library next week will request a $10 million town contribution toward an estimated $30 million rebuilding project, First Selectman Kevin Moynihan said Thursday. The planned building draws on New Canaan’s Midcentury Modern architecture with “a lot of glass on top and you’re going to have views from the second floor that will be pretty compelling,” Moynihan said during a press briefing in his office at Town Hall. “I think it’s going to be transformational for downtown. It’s going to be a beautiful architectural structure and it’s a necessary thing. That old building is beyond its useful life.