According to First Selectman Kevin Moynihan, members of the New Canaan Preservation Alliance approached him this week with a plan to lease the “Mead Park Brick Barn” or “Richmond Hill Garage” for $1 per year for 99 years “and that they go out and find government funding to restore the building for some purpose.”
“And they would find a tenant,” Moynihan told fellow members of the Board of Selectmen during the group’s regular meeting, held at Town Hall.
“I don’t find this to be a credible proposal. The Preservation Alliance is really an advocacy group as opposed to a partner like the Waveny [Park] Conservancy or Athletic Foundation or Land Trust, where people have raised substantial funds to co-partner with the town on the project. So I do not think there is much reliability here to work with them on the basis of turning the building over to them to seek government grants.”
His comments came during a discussion of general matters at the selectmen meeting. The NCPA representatives involved could not be reached for comment.
Moynihan himself in May cast a tie-breaking vote to preserve $65,000, as part of a larger bonding package, to raze the 1901-built, two-story structure, opposite the bottom of Grove Street.
A demolition permit application is expected to go to the New Canaan Building Department on Wednesday, Moynihan said. If the chief building official receives a formal objection to that demolition, the Historical Review Committee would meet to determine whether the structure has sufficient cultural, historical or aesthetic value to warrant a 90-day delay.
Moynihan said the proposal from the Preservation Alliance doesn’t “satisfy our criteria for public-private partnerships, where we have a real funding source in addition to interest.”
“If we are going to make decisions about Vine Cottage, about the Irwin House building … we have to make choices,” he said.
Moynihan added that “we are actively working on our 5-year plan to try to decide what buildings we are going to invest in for the next five years, Waveny House being the most important.”