Letter: Allow the Preservationists To Restore the ‘Mead Park Brick Barn’

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In the spirit of the season it is so cheerful to see the sad, antique Mead Park Brick Barn sporting that lovely wreath. Thanks to the person who so thoughtfully placed it there.

Several thoughts with regard to the barn dilemma: 

In order to meet the very expensive “needs” of our community our town is faced with having to raise the mill rate to compensate for lower values of our homes and property. Happy Holidays to all!

Our elected officials can change their minds and better allocate the $65,000 allotted for the proposed demolition to a more necessary purpose.

With this prudent, conservative move they can then graciously allow the New Canaan Preservation Alliance to prove their position or not. What they propose will work or it won’t.

Is the push to destroy a piece of the history of our town so imperative that this well-intentioned body should not be given the opportunity to prove itself? In fact a restored Brick Barn is also a piece of our country’s history since they were once common to many communities while today they are rather rare.

I understand we are looking for points of interest as well as commercial businesses to bring visitors and potential home buyers to New Canaan. Our parks are beautiful, God’s Acre with its history and the Historical Society complex offer hours of interesting topics. Driving our country-like roads with the beautiful stone walls of our older homes and landscaping can be magical. I support the restoration of this besieged antique and the acceptance of its historical part in the story of New Canaan.

Irene Barrack

6 thoughts on “Letter: Allow the Preservationists To Restore the ‘Mead Park Brick Barn’

  1. They have been “allowed” to restore it for at least the past 15 years – but haven’t — how much longer should we give them. No more of that ugly eyesore!! Demolish.

  2. Actually the NCPA has not been “allowed” to restore the building for 15 years. Its a town owned building and permission from the town is required to begin. The NCPA has spent much time over the last 15 years trying to identify the process to get that permission. (About 10 years ago, the NCPA even received a $20,000 grant from the state to begin, which had to be released because permission from the Town had not been granted.) Frankly, the process is still in question. What the NCPA will do when approval has been granted is very clear and has been presented to the Town Council and the Board of Selectmen. NCPA also hosted an open forum at the Historical Society to discuss the process and answer any questions. The presentation can be found on the savemeadparkbrickbarn.org website.
    The question really is: Why has the Town taken 15 years to review the proposals from New Canaan Preservation Alliance to independently take-on the effort to restore this 108-year old building?

  3. When you compare photos – the Mead Barn architecture is the same as Town Hall, The new Post Office, the New Canaan Playhouse, etc. Are Mary Ann and Margaret calling these other buildings ugly – or is it just that it’s been neglected for 50 + years? The $65,000 that Town Council allocated for demolition could set up an endowment – where the interest is used to maintain the exterior of the building in perpetuity – that is $1,900 a year just on exterior look/feel: painting , window boxes, maintaining gardens, etc. to benefit and enhance the neighborhood and support Gold Star walk. That is $65,000 + $37,000 present value for annual spending over 30 years – a POSITIVE Business VALUE to the town and neighborhood. Otherwise – you’ll waste $65,000 removing it – and have 800 sq feet of grass that needs to be cut every month – a cost to the town in perpetuity. From a financial standpoint – the group is building wealth in New Canaan and not wasting money tearing down a uniquely historic building in town. Did I mention it also qualifies for FREE Historic grants – which provides additional value to the Town.

  4. Any excess from the $65,000 Mead Barn Endowment – about $1900 each year – could be used for Gold Star Walk events on Memorial Day, Veterans Days, 4th of July to honor our esteemed New Canaan Veterans. Use of the building for facilities at least.

  5. Now that a Tourism etc Comm is being selected, of course the history of New Canaan will be a major focus to attract tourists. The Brick Barn offers a dynamic picture of pre-industrial New Canaan, when we heated our homes, cooked our dinners, and ran our mowing machines with fuel distributed from this little barn on wagons drawn by horses. Imagine having to hitch up horse and buggy on cold, wintry mornings, to get to Norwalk for a kerosine supply every few days!

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