The New Canaan Police Department likely will move into an office building downtown while its headquarters is extensively renovated and in some ways rebuilt as part of a long-discussed and sorely needed upgrade, officials say.
The town has “tentatively agreed” with the owner and property manager at 39 Locust Ave.—known to many as the offices of the Board of Education, which is moving to Elm Street—for NCPD to use as “swing space” during the police station project, according to First Selectman Kevin Moynihan.
“That will blend great with what the superintendent has been paying for the space, and so that will be through 2024 and the lease otherwise would have gone to 2026 but the superintendent had already given notification of terminating that,” Moynihan told members of the Board of Finance during a general update at their May 10 meeting.
It isn’t clear just when the project at 174 South Ave. will get underway or how long it will take. A town committee now is weighing two proposals that have different visions for the back-half of the 1926-built police station—one to renovate and another to completely rebuild. The committee also faces open questions regarding the extent of site work at police headquarters and just how parking will be accommodated. One construction estimator last week put the difference in cost of the two projects at $15.4 million versus $19.6 million.
Moynihan also said at the finance board meeting that “we are doing a separate project, with staff only, and Police Department staff, on the range location in town. We will probably have something to discuss there at your next meeting.”
He referred to a standalone shooting range that could be located somewhere in New Canaan, or could be part of a shared regional facility elsewhere. A shooting range will not be included in the newly renovated building, officials have said. In saying “staff only” would study the options, Moynihan indicated that the group in charge of possible shooting range locations would be free to meet out of the public eye, as is allowed under state sunshine laws. (In the past, Moynihan assembled a staff-only group to look at where to site a police station, and it ultimately landed on a baseball field at Saxe Middle School—a deeply unpopular idea.)
The town last month approved funds for schematic designs of a newly renovated police station.