Letters Filed Objecting to Library’s Demolition Permit Application

The town’s chief building official last week received four letters of objection to a proposed demolition at New Canaan Library, according to emails obtained by NewCanaanite.com through a public records request. Three of the objection letters lodged with Chief Building Official Brian Platz appear to assume (incorrectly) that the entire 1913 library building will be razed under the demo plan. In fact the demo itself—as reported here—includes a preservation plan for the legacy building as approved in December by the Planning & Zoning Commission. One of the letters, filed by New Canaan Preservation Alliance’s Mimi Findlay, objects to the “partial demolition of the 1913 library.”

“The original, historic 1913 building consists of a dominant gable-roofed front portion and a subordinate rear portion under a lower hip roof,” Findlay wrote in her letter, filed Friday. “The latter has had its back (west) wall altered for the later additions.

PHOTOS: ‘New’ New Canaan Library

The widely anticipated new New Canaan Library project is on budget and ahead of schedule, with an expected opening date of the first quarter in 2023, according to Executive Director Lisa Oldham. Here are some photos from a walkthrough that we took with Oldham on June 16. 

Coffee’s on for Thursday

Join fellow residents, business owners and NewCanaanite.com editor Michael Dinan for the monthly Community Coffee, to be held 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. Thursday, May 5 in the Art Gallery on the main floor of New Canaan Library. (Please use the entrance overlooking Main and Cherry Streets, pictured below.)

The free, public coffee is a group conversation about what’s happening around town, moderated by Dinan. It’s presented in partnership with the library, and this month we will serve Green & Tonic coffee (thank you, everyone at Green & Tonic). Topics come from attendees. Those who would like to receive a friendly reminder email about the coffee—held the first Thursday of each month—should email Dinan at editor@newcanaanite.com.

New Canaan Library: $1.5 Million Needed Now to Move ‘Legacy’ Building in Time for Feb. ‘23 Opening of New Facility

New Canaan Library officials said Tuesday that unless their organization is able to secure funding to move the original 1913 building to the western edge of its campus—as conditioned by the Planning & Zoning Commission via approvals last July and December—they could end up with two facilities, the present-day library and a new one, sitting next to each other. The library has already has raised more than $33 million toward its new approximately $40 million building, including a $10 million gift from the town, Executive Director Lisa Oldham told members of the Board of Finance at their regular meeting, held at Town Hall and via videoconference. 

Yet the library sees the P&Z-approved project of preserving and moving what remains of the 1,200-square-foot 1913 or “legacy” building as a separate project, and need $1.5 million now in order for that structure to be secured on a new foundation behind the Sunoco gas station by the time the new facility opens to the public Feb. 1, 2023, Oldham said. (A further $1 million will be needed to fit out the building for use, such as by getting insulation, heat, bathrooms and plumbing in it.)

Asked by Board of Finance Chair Todd Lavieri how the library is going to get the $1.5 million, Oldham said, “That is a good question.”

“As our primary investors, our biggest investor, you will appreciate that I am full focused on fundraising the last $6.5 million for the main project,” she said. “This [new library] can’t wait for me to finish that [legacy building] job, so we need a source of funding immediately.