Why Save Mead Park Brick Barn?
A Distinctive History
Mead Park Brick Barn is a municipally owned building with a long history. It was built and operated by Standard Oil in 1911 and functioned as a kerosene depot and barn for horses and a wagon which delivered fuel to the neighborhood around Richmond Hill in New Canaan. Standard Oil selected this site, which was at that time at the edge of a swamp, because of its location downhill from the railroad crossing which allowed the fuel to be delivered to the depot site via canvas hose. This building has stood the test of time with the surrounding property becoming a 24-acre community park known as Mead Memorial Park. The Barn has a footprint of a mere 800 sq feet. The Town has owned and operated it since 1933, initially for local organizations' meetings and later as storage for park equipment.
Demoltion Threat in 2010
In 2010, the Town intended to demolish the building responding to the cry for more open space from a select few and because the residents on Richmond Hill did not like its "run down" appearance as a result of no maintenance by the Town and the inappropriate parking of unsightly orange municipal utility vehicles there.
Though the Friends of Mead Park Brick Barn gathered approximately 500 signatures in 2010, the Town still did not consider any adaptive reuse proposals, and still hasn't. Why?
Register of Historic Places in Connecticut
In November of 2010, the Mead Park Brick Barn was added to the Register of Historic Places in Connecticut by the Historic Preservation Council with a unanimous vote. It’s important to note that this Council consisted of eleven professional architects, architectural historians and preservationists. Letters of support were sent to the then First Selectman from Senator Richard Blumenthal, the United States Department of Interior and CT Trust for Historic Preservation, all recommending alternatives to the destruction of the Mead Park Brick Barn, a Connecticut heritage asset and structure of national interest and scarcity.
Senator Richard Blumenthal: "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."
Options for Reuse
Since 2010, numerous not-for-profits and individuals have expressed and proposed their ideas for adaptively reusing the Mead Park Brick Barn. However, the First Selectmen and the Town have never considered nor defined a reasonable process for evaluating these proposals.
On September 12th, the NCPA will present its request for a long term lease to Town Council including its plan to commit its own funds to the restoration, maintenance and occupancy of the building during the lease term thus relieving the Town of any future expense.
Adaptive reuse of historic buildings is the ultimate environmentally responsible practice!
Save Mead Park Brick Barn gladly accepts your monetary support!
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