Online Petition Opposing Proposal To Build New Police Station at Saxe Garners Hundreds of Signatures 


Conceptual site plan for a new police station just north of the YMCA, current site of a Saxe Middle School baseball diamond. Specs by Kaestle Boos Associates Inc.

An online petition opposed to a proposal to build a new police station on a Saxe Middle School baseball field garnered hundreds of signatures over the weekend.

Logo of the group that has formed to oppose a proposal to build a new police station on a Saxe Middle School baseball diamond. Contributed

Launched Saturday, in the wake of a Sept. 29 presentation to three town bodies, the petition calls or the town to renovate the existing New Canaan Police Department where it is instead of rebuilding between the middle school and YMCA.

“First Selectman Kevin Moynihan has suggested that the town, instead of renovating the station on the current property, should instead build a new station on the Saxe Middle School fields,” it says. “His proposed solution is fraught with problems, including the following: it would take away much needed green space, it would decrease the number of youth athletic fields (already in high demand), and it would have enormous traffic consequences in a high traffic, multi school area. Furthermore, it doesn’t seem to provide the town with any cost savings.”

On the other hand, renovating the police station where it is at 174 South Ave. has “no downsides,” according to the petition, launched by town resident Katie Owsley. 

“Traffic patterns are already established, the station is ideally situated near the town center, and it is adjacent the EMS station (critical),” it says. “And while no building or site will be 100% perfect, renovating the existing property would, according to Chief [Leon] Krolikowski, fulfill an impressive 98% of the police department’s needs. Let’s renovate New Canaan’s Police Station where it stands today.”

Owsley referred to the police chief’s response to a question put to him during last week’s joint meeting of the Board of Selectmen, Board of Finance and Town Council, held at Town Hall and via videoconference.

There, an architecture firm that has been working out of the public eye for months with a team assembled by Moynihan unveiled renderings of the proposed new $23.5 million police station. The two-story, approximately 24,000- to 25,000-square-foot glass-and-brick exterior building would be situated on 3.6 acres running east from South Avenue, near the school grounds’ property line with the New Canaan Y.

During the same meeting, a different architecture firm that’s been doing its work in public, with the New Canaan Police Department Building Committee, gave a presentation that it had given in August regarding options to renovate (approximately $14.7 to $18 million) or rebuild in-place (approximately $26.3 to $29.3 million). 

Moynihan’s said the advantages of the Saxe plan include a new, purpose-built structure the would last for at least 50 years and includes a new firing range in its below-ground level, as well as the ability to sell the existing station to a developer to offset costs, add to New Canaan’s tax base and bolsters its senior and affordable housing stock. 

The Board of Finance is expected to take up the police station project recommendations next. 

Town officials have discussed the need to renovate the 1927-built Police Department on South Avenue—originally built as the first New Canaan High School, with the town’s first junior high school built next door a few years later (now Schoolhouse Apartments)—for many years.

Moynihan first aired the idea of building a new police station on the Saxe field during a press briefing in January 2019 (audio here). He later canceled the press briefings. 

Selectman Nick Williams has called the Saxe idea “dumb” and “untenable politically.”

The online petition garnered nearly 500 signatures in its first weekend.

8 thoughts on “Online Petition Opposing Proposal To Build New Police Station at Saxe Garners Hundreds of Signatures 

  1. Improving the existing police station will last another 50 years when new and improved materials are used. Over the years construction material has improved greatly.
    We’re it stands today is also part of the towns structural heritage.

  2. Or, we could renovate the police station where it is and sell the ball field to a developer to build senior housing to offset costs. Seniors could walk to the Y, walk the paths at Waveny. Short drive to Lapham Center. Not that I trust a private developer to build anything affordable, which is what’s most needed (always a long waiting list for the Schoolhouse Apartments). Steve Karl had a very good point that traffic grinds to a halt twice a day by the high school and middle school. The current police location gives the police lots of side streets they can use to avoid any blockage, the ball field would not.

  3. The architects have told you that the location of police hq is of relatively low importance, because the patrol vehicles are circulating through the town. So why not go all the way: sell both the current building and the Saxe property to developers and locate the new hq somewhere less expensive like Norwalk or Stamford. Think of the money saved and the increased tax rolls! New Canaan’s mail trucks are now located in Springdale and everyone loves that, right? And doesn’t it make sense to reduce the open space around the state’s second largest middle school and turf what’s left?

  4. I’m with Chris. This is just a horrible idea, and one does not need a degree in architecture to reach that conclusion.

  5. As 12:15 PM October 6, 828 people have signed the on-line petition to rebuild in the Police station on its existing site. That pretty close to the 998 voters who turned out for the Republican caucus in July. I hope that the powers that be see the error of their ways, and craft a solution that works for all the citizens of our great town.

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