Selectmen Approve $17,000 Contract for ADA-Compliant Rails at ‘9/11 Memorial Plaza’ Downtown


The site of the 9/11 plaza at the New Canaan Train Station. Credit: Michael Dinan

The Board of Selectmen at its most recent meeting approved a $16,780 contract with a Norwalk company to install guardrails and handrails at a 9/11 memorial plaza at the train station.

The town installed a new sidewalk recently, above the Elm Street 911 Memorial Plaza, and in that work “they kind of stripped all the landscaping away,” according to Public Works Director Tiger Mann.

“We’re working with the Beautification League on replanting that area,” he told the selectmen at their Sept. 5 meeting, held at Town Hall and via videoconference.

“They’re paying for the plantings and they’ll replant that area,” he said. “We also redid all the lampposts in the train station proper as well. And the last thing is to refurbish the 9/11 memorial and make it safe and accessible. Right now it’s not accessible and it’s not safe. So the thought being that we have to raise the grade of the patio that was included in the past project that you approved. And then install a custom-made guide rail on the top of the wall … and then handrails leading down the two sets of stairs to the parking lot.”

First Selectman Kevin Moynihan and Selectmen Kathleen Corbet and Nick Williams voted 3-0 in favor of the contract with Vinny’s Custom Metal Fabricators LLC. 

Moynihan asked whether there’s an accessible ramp currently.

Mann said, “There will be an accessible route from the sidewalk to the plaza. So prior to this, there was one step down and then there was a set of stairs to the parking lot. We’re going to make it so that the slope from the sidewalk to the plaza itself will be either a 1:12 grade so it’ll need handrails or a 1:20 and it won’t. So right now we’re working on that last little bit. His price includes all of it just in case.”

The new features will be added once the plaza has been replanted, Mann said.

“And we’ll get rid of this dropoff that we have off of the wall itself at present,” he said.

Moynihan said that it’s the town’s memorial even though it’s state property and suggested the 9/11 plaza be decommissioned and turned into a garden.
Mann said. “We can certainly decommission it. It’s a nice sitting area. It’s a nice area that was developed.”

The selectmen also asked whether the ADA non-compliance had been noted in a federal investigation last year that found dozens of such violations on New Canaan town-owned properties (no), whether the work would make the area ADA-compliant (yes), how many people can be accommodated in the plaza (not as many as attend the annual 9/11 remembrance ceremony at Town Hall) and whether the town has another 9/11 memorial (yes, outside the firehouse). 

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