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.