New Canaan may consider building a new police station on the Saxe Middle School baseball diamond adjacent to the YMCA, according to the town’s highest elected official.
The possibility for a new police headquarters there for an estimated $16 million represents a third option, according to First Selectman Kevin Moynihan, behind renovating the existing New Canaan Police Department for about $10 million or moving the agency out of South Avenue and into a commercial building downtown.
“The only problem with a new building is where do you put it on town land? And that has been identified as most likely prospect for building on town land,” Moynihan said during a press briefing Thursday in his office at Town Hall.
The idea was floated by former Police Commissioner Stuart Sawabini, Moynihan said. A new baseball field would be installed at Kiwanis Park to replace the one at Saxe, he said.
Town officials have been talking about the need to renovate the 1927-built Police Department on South Avenue—originally built as the first New Canaan High School—for two years. That cost originally was pegged at $5 million, then $7 million and most recently, $10 million. The town has $9 million in bonding earmarked in its five-year capital plan to renovate the police station over fiscal years 2020 and 2021.
It isn’t clear which route the town will take. A proposal to relocate the police to the “Covia” building at Elm and Grove Streets would mean the town needs to purchase that structure with a goal fo selling the current South Avenue building—possibly for senior housing, and with restrictions that its iconic brick exterior must be preserved—and expanding the Covia building itself. It isn’t clear how much the Covia building would cost—the property owner has floated an appraisal of $9 million, far higher than the town’s estimate—or just how an expansion would happen or how much it would cost. Moynihan said architects are expected to come back next week with those figures.