Town Commissions Study To Determine Levels of Pollutants in Waveny House

Officials on Tuesday approved about $6,000 for tests that will help make clear the extent of pollutants such as asbestos and lead in Waveny House. Most of the pollutants at Waveny are relegated to the basement because of its heating system and pipes, where “huge water tanks” are wrapped in asbestos, according to Bill Oestmann, buildings superintendent with the New Canaan Department of Public Works. The town as it looks at restoring the infrastructure at Waveny House should consider alternative heating sources to the steam pipes used now so that there’s no need to trigger abatement work by entering an area with contaminants, Oestmann told the Board of Selectmen during the group’s regular meeting. “As far as dollars go, this study will hopefully get us some estimates,” Oestmann said at the meeting, held in Town Hall. The study, from Meriden-based EnviroMed Services, will cost about $5,520 and the selectman approved a contract for it 3-0 with $800 contingency.

‘It Was An Amazing Place To Live’: Actor Christopher Lloyd Returns To Waveny House

About 12 years ago, Christopher Lloyd, the actor, re-visited Waveny House, his childhood home in New Canaan and centerpiece of the sprawling property, now a beloved park, that his mother Ruth Lapham Lloyd conveyed to the town in 1967. It was a Fourth of July weekend, Lloyd recalled, and he was “sitting out in the field, and the fireworks were going off down near the parkway and I looked back and I saw all those faces and the people and they had a band playing and all kinds of barbecues going on.”

“And I thought, if my mother could come back and see that, she would feel that her dream was coming true,” Lloyd recalled from the Great Hall at Waveny House on Sunday afternoon, standing a few feet away from the recently restored floor-to-ceiling limestone fireplace that has greeted generations of New Canaanites entering the 1912-built structure. “That Waveny hadn’t been turned into gas stations and mini-malls—not that we don’t need those—but something that was preserved ‘in perpetuity’ so to speak, where the people who live in this area can come and enjoy what it offers. That’s a great pleasure, to come back and see that.”

He got a good dose on Sunday, attending the sold-out launch of a children’s book, “Waveny: New Canaan’s Treasure,” written by town resident Arianne Kolb and illustrated by Nicole Johnson Murphy. A max-capacity crowd of more than 150 picked up copies of the book, mixed and took photos with Lloyd, learned about the work of a nonprofit organization that co-presented the event with the town, the New Canaan Preservation Alliance, and perused contemporary photographs of the Waveny grounds by New Canaan artist Torrance York, while New Canaan Music owner Phil Williams entertained the crowd with live music from his band, Scavenger Trio.

‘Waveny House Committee’ Appointed To Help Determine Future Use of Cherished Public Building

Faced with numerous and expensive baseline repairs that are needed to get Waveny House running as an ADA-compliant public building, town officials on Tuesday appointed a committee that will help determine just how the cherished New Canaan structure should be used. The “Waveny House Committee” is expected to recommend whether the 1912-built home continues to house the Recreation Department, operate more extensively as a paid special events venue, serve as a storage space or perform other functions—a wide range of possibilities that could shape the scope of New Canaan’s capital investment in the facility (more on that below). The committee will consist of Bill Holmes, Suzanne Jonker, Steve Parrett and Penny Young, members of the Board of Selectmen said during their regular meeting, with Recreation Director Steve Benko, Parks & Recreation Commission Chairman Sally Campbell and DPW Buildings Superintendent Bill Oestmann to join at some point. First Selectman Rob Mallozzi said: “There is an attempt to identify some dollars that we can go to the public with over the next two or three years to do an improvement on Waveny House, and we all thought it was important that we just don’t take what is there and redo it, but we should have input as to what the usage should be of that house, how it functions, what the parameters are for the usage of that house.”

The committee is not a “building committee” (which is formed to study, recommend and oversee a specific capital project) and is different from the nonprofit Waveny Park Conservancy, a private group that’s focused on Waveny’s grounds, specifically in the southwest quadrant of the park. Selectman Beth Jones said it was “great to have” Holmes on the committee—he’s a member of the Conservancy, too, as a representative from the New Canaan Preservation Alliance.