The Board of Selectmen last week approved $6,250 for the emergency repair of a circulator pump at The Playhouse on Elm Street.
The pump, one of three in the basement of the 1923 building, circulates hot water throughout the Playhouse for its heat, according to Bill Oestmann, superintendent of building in the New Canaan Department of Public Works.
On a Saturday just before the COVID-19 public health emergency unfolded, a crew entered the building to swap things around and get heat back into the theater, Oestmann told the selectmen during their April 7 meeting, held via videoconference.
“In doing so, I had to take one of the pumps from an upper level offline, and use it,” Oestmann said. “These pumps are [in a] really tough environment down there. They are all leaking a little bit and they’re very, very old.”
First Selectman Kevin Moynihan had already approved the payment to New Canaan-based Modern Plumbing & Heating for the work on an emergency basis. He and Selectmen Kit Devereaux and Nick Williams formally approved the repair.
The Playhouse has been closed since March 15. Municipal officials long have mulled whether the town should continue to own the building. Bow Tie Cinemas operates the movie theater there, under a lease that runs through 2022 with an option to extend to 2027 (here’s a podcast with some background on the town-owned building). The town has earmarked $231,000 in bonding for necessary capital work at The Playhouse for fiscal year 2021.
Oestmann said he received two quotes for the emergency repair work, the higher one at $8,790.