This week on 0684-Radi0, our free weekly podcast (subscribe here in the iTunes Store), we talk to local preservation architect Rose Long Rothbart and landscape architect Keith Simpson about New Canaan Library’s rebuilding plans, and why they feel the original 1913 core of the existing building should be preserved. Here are recent episodes of 0684-Radi0:
The volunteer body that oversees God’s Acre at its most recent meeting voted unanimously to approve a proposed flagstone terrace that is to be installed at the top of the parcel on Park Street, opposite the entrance to the Congregational Church of New Canaan. The Historic District Commission voted 5-0 at its Nov. 21 meeting to approve a required “Certificate of Appropriateness” for what those in charge of the privately funded project have dubbed the “Founders Terrace.”
Conceived as a permanent space where the Town Band can set up for Christmas Eve caroling, the terrace is to include a 24-inch wide sitting walls and is designed to serve as a gathering space for locals year-round, according to the group behind the project. One member of that group, local landscape architect Keith Simpson, noted while presenting to the Commission that New Canaan in marking the 200th anniversary of its 1801 incorporation held a ceremony in just that spot, with local, state and federal officials, and a makeshift set-up of chairs and speakers. With the terrace in place, “if you had something going on here—and we don’t intend to have any tables or chairs there on a regular basis—but if you ever you wanted to have 200 people here, you just would close off a section of Park Street and extend out,” Simpson said during the Commission’s meeting, held at Town Hall.
Town officials say they’re adopting a plan laid out by a local landscape architect to reimagine the northern portion of Mead Park where, until last week, a former fuel depot had stood for 100 years.
The demolition of the “Mead Park Brick Barn,” which came nearly one year after the first selectman broke a tie on the Town Council to have it razed, clears the way for New Canaan to pursue a plan for the area that Keith Simpson Associates put forward several years ago. Plans call for an overhead sign announcing the new formal entrance to ‘Mead Park’ and commencement of the “Gold Star Walk,” an honorary walk in memory of New Canaanites who died in World War II that rings that side of Mead Pond. The footprint of the Brick Barn would remain as a plaza with native stone paving infill and seating that’s edged by ornamental fencing, an on-grade brick border and low plantings, under the Simpson plan, and a pedestrian path would run off of the back toward the Gold Star Walk itself. The small parking area next to the razed building would include six parking spaces, one for disabled drivers, and a bike rack would be added there, under the plan. Asked about the plans, Public Works Director Tiger Mann called the area “an underutilized side of the park.”
“Most people come in for the other side, with the Lodge and baseball fields and playground, so we want to promote usage of this side, we’re trying to make a nice entranceway,” he said.
This week on ‘0684-Radi0,’ we review the history and significance of the main road through Waveny, which has come to bisect the beloved park in an important way. We talk to Caroline Garrity, chairman of the Waveny Park Conservancy, lifelong New Canaanite and longtime Town Councilman Steve Karl and local landscape architect Keith Simpson.
This installment of 0684-Radi0 is sponsored by Fresh Green Light.
The volunteer group that formed a few months ago to continue Christmas Eve caroling in New Canaan is seeking permission to create a flagstone terrace at the top of God’s Acre that would serve as a public gathering space year-round where the Town Band could set up each Dec. 24 for the beloved community tradition. To feature a wall wide enough to sit on and to be stabilized by variously sized boulders dotted with low plantings below, the approximately 18-by-36-foot patio would be located directly across Park Street from the entrance to the Congregational Church, overlooking the new caroling tree, members of the caroling committee told the Historic District Commission during a presentation Thursday. “We are here just to get guidance,” committee member Tucker Murphy said during the Commission’s meeting, held at Town Hall. “We will submit a formal application once that seems to be appropriate.”
Other members of the committee include Steve Benko, Leo Karl III, Steve Karl, Lisa Melland, Keith Simpson and Tom Stadler, she said.
Ultimately, the Commission voted unanimously in favor of the concept of the terrace, calling for more details and visuals, in part to determine just how the new structure would look from different points of view around God’s Acre.