New Canaan Police on Monday walked through the Elm Street office building that’s the town’s highest elected official has said could serve as a future department headquarters, and the Board of Education is slated to do its own walkthrough there during the first week of September, officials said Tuesday.
First Selectman Kevin Moynihan has developed and championed the idea of New Canaan purchasing the 28,000-square-foot “Covia” building at the corner of Elm and Grove Streets as a future home for both the police and school district’s administrative offices—a move that would be financially feasible, he has said, if the current NCPD building on South Avenue could be sold to a developer who would preserve the historic structure, possibly for conversion to senior housing.
“We are going to evaluate,” Moynihan said of the town’s hard look at the Covia building during a regular meeting of the Board fo Selectmen.
“Assuming the conclusion is it works for the police and that the Board fo Ed believes it works for them, we would then during September do the financial analysis as to whether we want to recommend that choice as opposed to renovating [the current police headquarters],” Moynihan said at the meeting, held in Town Hall.
“A lot of that will depend on what we can do with the South Avenue building, because the net cost would be substantially less than renovating the police building for that purpose. We won’t know until we do these walkthroughs.”
His comments came in response to a question from Selectman Kit Devereaux, seeking an update on the effort. Devereaux noted that the town during the most recent budget season approved $500,000 toward preliminary work for renovating the police building on South Avenue—a plan that Moynihan had backed in the past, now scuttled. (The town in its 5-year capital plan also has $5 million earmarked for the renovation itself.)
Devereaux at the meeting asked Moynihan whether New Canaan’s analysis of the Covia building would include a traffic study.
“Because I know people have brought up real concerns about what would happen on Grove Street,” Devereaux said.
Moynihan said that the police are “not concerned” about the ability to carry out their important job at the location, which is at an often heavily trafficked intersection and also is flanked by nearby railroad tracks.
“The professionals, so far as I understand, are not concerned,” Moynihan said.
He continued: “I live in that neighborhood and when you know that the trains are going to come in, there are alliterative ways to go.”
The first selectman added that it will be the Police Department’s responsibility to analyze traffic patters prior to making its formal recommendation about a move.
It isn’t clear what New Canaan would pay for the building in question. It last was appraised at about $8.2 million, tax records show. Covia—known at the time as Unimin—first put its building on the market in October 2016. The industrial mineral producer has said it employs 100 to 110 people there.