Time Has Run Out...
UPDATE: The New Canaan Preservation Alliance is disappointed with the vote of the Board of Selectmen to demolish the Mead Park Brick Barn. Nevertheless, the NCPA stands ready to step in and proceed with the restoration.
Remember, the greenest building is the one standing!
The Town Council tabled the vote to approve the NCPA plan to restore and use the Mead Park Brick Barn. The Town Council tabled the vote to rescind the $65,000 appropriation to demolition the Mead Park Brick Barn. The Town's legal counsel opinion, written by and associate in Ira Bloom's office, is in direct conflict with that written by the noted municipal lawyer retained by the NCPA. You can access the two legal opinions here.
The NCPA requested that the Town Council return to Ira Bloom, Town legal counsel, for clarification. Ira Bloom's opinion was written by an associate with 7 years experience who cited no case law. The NCPA retained a distinguished municipal attorney with 33 years experience, and had served as president of the Connecticut Municipal Attorneys Association. His opinion stated case law and confirmed a Town Council has the ability to rescind an appropriation.
The NCPA presented a credible plan to restore and use Mead Park Brick Barn. The NCPA was transparent about the restoration process and the sources of funding. Seventy-five percent (75%) of the funding for this project was to come from the state preservation programs. No taxpayer dollars were to be spent. It is the wish of the NCPA that the restoration of the MPBB be viewed as a pilot and replicated by the Town for the restoration, adaptive reuse and maintenance of its many historic buildings currently in serious disrepair. The NCPA offered to be a partner with the town in this long term, productive endeavor.
The Town Council chose to not vote and send the demolition contract back to the Board of Selectmen. The Board of Selectmen voted to to approve the demolition contract in a 2-1 vote, with Kit Devereaux voting to save the Barn and Nick Williams and Kevin Moynihan voting for the demolition.
THE FOLLOWING IS AN EMAIL WRITTEN BY TOWN COUNCIL MEMBER JOE PALADINO IN SUPPORT OF THE SAVE MEAD PARK BRICK BARN EFFORT. IT WAS READ INTO THE RECORD BY SELECTMAN KIT DEVEREAUX PRIOR TO THE BOS VOTE AND AFTER 10 OR SO OTHER RESIDENTS SPOKE. JOE OUTLINES HIS CONCERN ABOUT THE DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION (DEEP) ISSUES THAT MAY ARISE FROM DISTURBING THE SLAB.
THE GREENEST BUILDING IS THE ONE STANDING
In an effort to Save Mead Park Brick Barn the NCPA completed the following:
NCPA retained noted CT legal counsel and issued his written opinion that the Town Council can rescind the vote to fund the demolition of the Barn
NCPA restoration experts surveyed and documented the building and then produced restoration drawings and specifications
NCPA presented the restoration documents to the Connecticut State Historic Preservation Office for funding preview
NCPA produced and presented a proposal for restoration funding and facilitation to the Town of New Canaan using the Mead Park Brick Barn as a pilot program. There is now an update to the CT state grants which will reduce the overall project schedule from 3-4 years, to just two.
NCPA reached out to all representatives of Town government to meet and discuss details of the proposal, updates and answer questions
NCPA gathered hundreds of signatures in support of this project
NCPA gathered donations and pledges toward the restoration effort
NCPA identified and contacted additional funding sources including matching grants
NCPA continues to speak in support of this project at Town meetings
“While utilitarian buildings such as this appear simple in design, they are important physical expressions of former life ways that allow us to connect with our past and understand the history of our local landscapes. The Mead Park Carriage Barn is particularly notable as a rare type of specialized building……. The Mead Park Carriage Barn is a key resource that marks a formerly industrial section of town….”
Jenny F. Scofield, AICP
National Register and
Architectural Survey Coordinator
State Historic Preservation Office
August 8, 2018
“The structure is individually listed on the State Register of Historic Places. The State Register of Historic Places is an official listing of properties and sites important to the historical development of Connecticut……The Connecticut Trust has worked with New Canaan Preservation Alliance to identify available sources of funding for the rehabilitation of historic structures….”
Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation
August 7, 2018
“The building has a rich history; represents a significant technological period in New Canaan's, and the nation's, history; poses no obstacle to the town's use of existing resources; and has unexplored use-value to the town and its residents. Rather than demolish it, I encourage its preservation as an opportunity to utilize former industrial space for the benefit of the town and its citizens.”
Richard O'Connor, Ph.D.
Chief, Heritage Documentation Programs
National Park Service
16 November 2010
“I write to urge your careful consideration of all alternatives to the destruction of the Mead Park Standard Oil Brick Barn. Historic structures are an integral part of Connecticut's culture. It is important that every effort is made to seek ways to preserve these buildings.”
United States Senate
April 12, 2011