‘It Is Falling Apart’: Building Chief Floats $5 Million Estimate for New Canaan Police Department Renovation

The New Canaan Police Department needs extensive interior renovations and overhaul of its heating, HVAC, plumbing and electrical systems—a project that could cost about $5 million, the town’s building chief said Thursday. That figure is based on a $375-per-square-foot calculation for a South Avenue structure that “is really starting to suffer,” according to Bill Oestmann, superintendent of buildings with the New Canaan Department of Public Works. “The building is falling apart, literally—the windows are falling out of the building,” Oestmann told the Board of Selectmen during a regular meeting, held at Town Hall. The town’s fluid 5-year capital plan has a $2 million placeholder in fiscal year 2020 for a windows replacement and wider renovation of the department’s headquarters at 174 South Ave—a 1927-built structure, originally New Canaan High School. Oestmann during the Police Department’s capital budget proposal for fiscal year 2018 said he would need $250,000 to kickstart the long-postponed renovation process.

With Drop in Revenue from Building Permits, Town Department Streamlines Staffing

Fees collected through building permits have seen an overall decline recently, so the town department that issues them will operate with fewer staff members than usual for now, officials said Tuesday. The New Canaan Building Department will hold open a full-time position once an inspector leaves at year’s end and a part-time worker’s hours have been reduced from 20 to 10 per week, Chief Building Official Brian Platz told members of the Board of Selectmen during their regular meeting. First Selectman Rob Mallozzi and Platz both have seen a steady decline in the issuance of those permits that generate revenue for the town and worked together on a plan to staff accordingly. “We certainly have not fallen off any cliffs,” Platz said during the meeting, held at Town Hall. “I don’t think there is any cause for alarm.”

Total fees collected through building permits through the first three quarters of this calendar year are down nearly 30 percent from the same period in 2015, from about $1 million to $708,000, according to Building Department data.

Parks Officials Envision New Uses for ‘Colonnade’ at Mead

With its vantage point overlooking the pond and tennis courts, and enclosed by the columns that recall ancient Greece or Rome, the colonnade at Mead Park could be developed in some way to better serve New Canaanites, parks officials said Wednesday night. It’s a “nice area, and if you start to fix it up, it could be utilized,” Recreation Director Steve Benko said during a regular meeting of the Park & Recreation Commission, held at Lapham Community Center. The town could consider putting “either a paver patio or a flagstone patio, and you could put a couple of Adirondack chairs and round picnic tables with umbrellas, and a lot of people go down to the snack bar and it gets very busy with noise with kids. And it might offer the tennis players a place to go up, grab an iced tea, and sit and chat with their friends. Or somebody brings their lunch up there.