Solar Power Systems To Be Installed at Four Town Buildings 

The Board of Selectmen on Tuesday unanimously approved two contracts that will see solar power systems installed on town buildings in New Canaan for the first time. If all goes as planned, the new photovoltaic or ‘PV’ systems could be up and running at Town Hall, the Animal Care building at the New Canaan Nature Center, Waveny Pool house and Highway Department garage prior to next winter, officials said at the selectmen’s regular meeting. “This is our first foray into solar and I am very excited to get this project launched,” First Selectman Kevin Moynihan said at the meeting, held in Town Hall. Moynihan and Selectmen Kit Devereaux and Nick Williams voted 3-0 in favor of a $530,000 contract with Hartford-based Northeast Smart Energy to install the PV systems and with Norwalk-based MHR Development, which drew up the RFP for the work and will help manage the project. 

MHR’s principal is Mark Robbins, a former New Canaan resident who attended the meeting. Moynihan noted that Robbins has consulted on solar projects at local schools.

West Road Bridge Replacement on Track for Spring 2020

Town officials last week approved a $100,000 contract with a Newington-based consulting firm to design a West Road bridge whose headwall failed during a storm last summer. 

The Board of Selectmen voted 3-0 in favor of the contract with WMC Consulting Engineers. The new bridge will replace the existing one, located just north of the intersection at Turtle Back Road. The town moved the funding for the project up by a few months so that, following an estimated six-month design phase, the project can go out to bid in late-2019 for spring 2020 construction, according to Public Works Director Tiger Mann. New Canaan is expected to pay about $921,000 toward the total $1.8 million cost to replace the bridge, Mann said said. The Connecticut Department of Transportation has committed to a 50 percent grant that will go toward construction design and administration, Mann told the selectmen at their March 12 meeting.

0684-Radi0: Public-Private Partnerships in New Canaan

This week on ‘0684-Radi0’ (hit ‘Listen in Browser’ above on your smartphone), we take a hard look at one piece of Selectman Nick Williams’s thinking in advocating for several months to give more time to a private nonprofit organization seeking permission to restore and reuse a public building in Mead Park. 

Ultimately, as many know, the Board of Selectmen voted 2-1 to demolish so-called “Mead Park Brick Barn.” Much of what has weighed on Williams were the efforts of a local group to put their own time, expertise and, importantly, privately raised dollars, toward a building that falls under the town’s responsibility. Such proposed public-private partnerships are prevalent in New Canaan. We talk to Williams about his decision, and—separately from the Richmond Hill Road building—we talk generally about what’s happening with philanthropy in New Canaan with a local expert. Leo Karl III serves on the boards of the New Canaan Community Foundation and Waveny LifeCare Network, and he is assisting the New Canaan Athletic Foundation on formalizing its relationship with the town. 

Many thanks to both Williams and Karl for granting us interviews. 

This week’s podcast is sponsored by Brian Cronin, vice president of Ward Brokerage Associates, a boutique brokerage providing life, long-term care and disability solutions. 

Here’s last week’s installment of 0684-Radi0.