Library Seeks To Set Up Temporary ‘Mirror House’ As Visitors Center for Rebuilding Project

New Canaan Library is seeking permission to install a “mirror house” at South Avenue and Maple Street where people could preview the organization’s widely anticipated rebuilding project. 

The temporary 230-square-foot structure would use “interactive 3-dimensional tour from inside,” according to an application filed with the Planning & Zoning Commission. 

“From the outside the look of the structure is that of a ‘mirrored glass house’ due to the fact that it has very highly reflective surfaces on three sides running the full height,” owner’s agent Paul Stone of Karp Associates said in a Special Permit application filed on behalf of the library. “Essentially, it’s a mirrored box, no gables. From the interior one can see out as though it’s clear glass, but from the outside it appears as a mirror.”

P&Z is to take up the application during a regular meeting Tuesday, one week after the library won a key signal of support from New Canaan’s legislative body. 

The Town Council on March 24 voted 10-2 to deny a motion that would have effectively halted the library’s project for one year so that preservationists could figure out a use for the original 1913 building building and fundraise for its restoration and maintenance. The library is seeking a $10 million contribution from the town toward its overall $30 million project and is fundraising the balance. Those in favor of the delay—preservationists as well as Councilmen Tom Butterworth and Cristina A. Ross among them—argued that the century-old building is a rare architectural and historic gem of New Canaan that lends to the look and feel of the downtown.

Town Calls for Volunteers To Help New Canaan Seniors Stay Home During COVID-19 Emergency

Town officials are calling for volunteers to help run errands for New Canaan residents 75-and-older so that those individuals most at-risk to COVID-19 are able to stay home. A list of some 1,434 residents in the age bracket has been pared down to about 900 after those already receiving care and services through local organizations such as Waveny LifeCare Network and Staying Put in New Canaan were removed, according to First Selectman Kevin Moynihan. 

Volunteers are needed to help “order meals from restaurants, get their groceries, pick up prescriptions at the pharmacies,” Moynihan said during a regular Board of Selectmen meeting held Tuesday via videoconference. 

“We would like to have a 1-on-1 relationship where a volunteer takes on a couple or a few seniors to be able to go to the grocery store instead of having them go,” he said. Many of the 900 people identified are “very active and vital people” who do not require assistance themselves, “but the key is they could stay home, given their age they are the most vulnerable, so ideally we want to get to a point where we get as many volunteers as possible.”

Those interested in volunteering should contact Interim Director of Human Services Bethany Zaro, Moynihan said. Her email is Bethany.Zaro@newcanaanct.gov, according to the municipal website. 

“All of our town employees and our volunteers are doing a terrific job,” Moynihan said. He said that Emergency Management Director Mike Handler and Health Director Jen Eielson especially have been doing “an absolutely tremendous job” during the COVID-19 emergency. 

Moynihan announced Sunday that Town Hall is closed to the public and that the “most essential” municipal workers are reachable via phone and email to respond as best they could.

Emergency Management Director: ‘Goal’ To Have Drive-Thru Testing for Virus by March 23

Municipal leaders on Monday announced that Town Hall hours will be limited due to the COVID-19 emergency and said they hope to make drive-thru testing for the virus available next week. Officials “have been working on bringing this service to New Canaan,” Emergency Management Director Mike Handler said of the testing in a town-wide voice call and email. “More information on how this process will work will be shared in the coming days. Many people are rightfully asking how long this is going to last. While we do not have a definitive answer, it is important that we all view this as more of a marathon than a sprint. Whatever the duration, we will get through this together.”

The information comes as cases of the virus surge, with a total of 41 cases in Connecticut, health officials say, including 29 in Fairfield County. The statewide figure is up from 26 in just one day. In New Canaan as elsewhere, food service establishments may offer pickup and curbside service only, and gyms, public playgrounds and the movie theater are closed.