More than one year after demolition plans entered the public realm, a dilapidated ca.-1900 greenhouse at the New Canaan Nature Center has been razed, town officials said Monday. The contaminant-laden town-owned structure “is down,” Public Works Director Tiger Mann said during a regular meeting of the Selectmen’s Advisory Committee on Buildings and Infrastructure. “We had some residents coming and asking for materials even after we told them that they couldn’t,” Mann said during the meeting, held via videoconference. “We had exhausted all possibilities as to re-using any of the materials themselves. But it’s down.
New Canaan’s highest elected official on Tuesday said he was surprised that a local resident posted a Craigslist ad offering a contaminant-laden town-owned structure up for free pickup. Calling the ca. 1900 greenhouse at the New Canaan Nature Center “a valuable antique” that’s in “good shape,” the ad was posted to the online marketplace March 17, following the publication of a news article about the Board of Selectmen the prior week approving a contract for its demolition. The ad is titled “FREE Lord & Burnham Greenhouse” and claims that “[a]ccording to Lord & Burnham Representative,” the structure is sound. “[T]his business owner worked on it in the 1980s and grew up near it’s [sic] location,” the ad said.
The Board of Selectmen at its most recent meeting approved a contract to raze a ca.-1900 greenhouse that one year ago was at the center of a debate regarding public notice of its future demolition. Located on town-owned New Canaan Nature Center property, the greenhouse is located behind the director’s house and the organization “has plans to repurpose the stone foundation of the greenhouse to expand their community garden,” according to Department of Public Works Senior Engineer Joe Zagarenski. “The greenhouse has been vacant many years and is no longer safe to occupy,” he said at the selectmen’s March 9 meeting, held via videoconference. “Evergreen Environmental performed a pre-renovation inspection and identified asbestos-containing materials such as glazing compound and caulking. And the structure has lead paint.
For today’s Q&A with the head of a local organization, we talk to Bill Flynn, executive director of the New Canaan Nature Center.
Here’s our interview.
New Canaanite: The trails at New Canaan Nature Center recently reopened. What are your overall operations like right now? Bill Flynn: Currently, because we are a public park, the trails are open. So people can come and visit the Nature Center on the trails, maintaining social distancing. Our buildings are currently closed.
It is with great sadness and joy that the New Canaan Nature Center is announcing the retirement of our beloved Preschool Director, Marianne Kay. While we are sad to lose such a dedicated and loving early childhood education professional, but we are happy that she was able to make the decision that will allow her to travel, spend time with her family, and have fun pursuing her hobbies. Marianne Kay began her association with the New Canaan Nature Center 21 years ago, when her daughter, Elisabeth, attended the New Canaan Nature Center Preschool. Marianne loved the program so much, that she agreed to come on as a part-time teacher just six months later. From there she became a full-time teacher and then taking on the role of Assistant Director of the Preschool. In 2011, Marianne was hired as the Preschool Director.
In her 9 years as the Director, Marianne has poured her heart and soul into our Preschool. Early childhood education is an exhausting challenge and takes a special kind of person to dedicate their life to cultivating and nurturing young minds. She comes to work every day with a huge smile on her face, making our parents feel secure that their children are in such loving and capable hands.
Marianne has grown our preschool not only in numbers, but its integrity as well. Nature-based preschools are the fastest growing form of early childhood education, and the New Canaan Nature Center was the first nature-based preschool in the country. Marianne and the teachers work tirelessly to ensure that our program lives up to the high standard they have created.
The New Canaan Nature Center was extremely lucky to have Marianne Kay for the past 20 years. As we begin our search for the next Director, we know the program will march on next year, since she has helped create such a strong program, and recruit and train such a wonderful teaching staff. We know she will still volunteer and be part of our organization, so this is not a good-bye, but a heart-felt thank you and see you soon!