‘The Responsibility I Take Most Seriously’: First Selectman Issues ‘Teen Center Timeline’


The town received the Teen Center building on June 30.

Prior to that date, I publicly called for an independent, professional engineering study of the building so that town leaders could understand what condition the building was in and what the costs may be to bring it up to code or to attract certain uses. That decision was met with full acceptance.

On July 19, we received the engineer’s report, which documented major issues with the building and put the town on notice of its un-safe condition. As the highest elected official and chief executive of the town, I made a decision then and there to heed the recommendations of the engineering report, along with our building and fire officials, to make that building off limits.

In conjunction with that, the fire marshal and fire chief made a recommendation to change the response to alarms in that building in order to protect emergency responders safety. I again made the decision to approve such a plan.

On July 20, I offered to speak to the engineering report at the Town Council meeting.

Please know that the responsibility I take most seriously is the one a first selectman has to public safety. I monitor fire, police and NCVAC radios in my office all day so as to be constantly aware of safety/emergency issues in town; I do the same while at home. My background prior to assuming this job was in public safety and emergency management. There was no way I was not going to react (and react decisively) to the information I had on that building. Period. I would do so again in the same scenario.

Now the timing may seem quick to some and to others it may seem like we are trying to get something accomplished while many are out of town. Nothing could be further from the truth. This is a real-time problem demanding real-time decisions. On July 26 the Board of Selectman asked for more information on the cost to take down the building. We did not order it taken down and we expect the information we receive to be of help toward town leadership’s future decision-making.

Robert E Mallozzi III

First Selectman

4 thoughts on “‘The Responsibility I Take Most Seriously’: First Selectman Issues ‘Teen Center Timeline’

  1. Rob, you’re doing a great job. No one is really at fault here. It’s a single purpose structure that has not held up very well. It got good use in its early years and people did a nice job. Structures don’t always last as long as we expect. Taking this one down and reusing the land is the logical thing to do at this point.

  2. Has it been investigated whether the Outback building could be taken apart and rebuilt economically at another more sensible location (Kiwanis Park, High School near the football field, Saxe, one of the Elementary schools, etc.)? They may be able to fix the engineering issues during the rebuilding process for little extra cost.

    At one of these locations, the Outback building could be used for various purposes, including possibly for catered meetings of Kiwanis, Rotary Club, Exchange Club, etc. who may be looking for new venues once the Roger Sherman Inn closes?

    • Maple Sugar Lover
      I doubt that Kiwanis Park would work. The front field/parking lot is full of cars/school buses for campers, staff and park visitors during the summer months. The Girl Scouts and park visitors use the lot and field for parking as well throughout the year.
      In addition, parents of the 100+ children at the nursery school park their vehicles on the field and parking lot during school clean-up days, parent meetings, and annual picnic/fair. The Exchange Club utilizes the parking lot and field from mid-November through December to sell over 1,000 trees.
      The beach/back field is in a flood plain and becomes inundated with water during heavy rains. It is difficult to access this area if vehicles were parked in the front lot.
      The back field has a basketball court in place, several buildings, and some recreational structures put up by the Y for archery and other activities.
      As for catered meetings, why not have the local Clubs utilize one of our existing restaurants? South End, as an example, has ample parking. How would The Outback sustain itself between Club meetings?

  3. Years ago there was interest in building a Skateboard Park in New Canaan. The teens needed something to do. However, no Skateboard Park was built and we moved on.

    The Outback is an emotional issue especially for the people who poured their money and thousands of volunteer hours into its creation and tenure. It worked for about 14 years.

    Unfortunately, over time the building/programs were underfunded and, as stipulated by its deed, the Town took possession of The Outback effective July 1, 2016.

    I watched the July BOS meeting twice and I found the dialogue among the Selectmen to be unbiased and constructive. After seeing the power point presentation and reading the engineer’s report, I agree with the conclusion: Do we need this building? Should we pour taxpayer money into it? The building today is not ADA compliant and there are structural and safety issues as well.

    Our First Selectman acted appropriately and responsibly when the Town took possession of the building. An engineer’s report was ordered and received. There are public safety concerns and so the building is not open to the public.

    The Town is not legally bound to maintain a Teen Center nor operate another facility in that structure. On paper it is a building. A sub-committe will weigh the pros and cons of finding a use for this building, if any. Hopefully a deadline for decision-making will be timely without unnecessary burden on the taxpayer’s wallet.

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