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Preservationist Makes Case to Save Barn

Robin Beckett values the old architecture in New Canaan and has seen too much of it vanish. That is why she and other members of the New Canaan Preservation Alliance are hoping town officials will change their minds about tearing down the building at Mead Park.

"We've got it. It's a shame to let it go," said Beckett, first vice president of the preservation alliance.

Last Monday, the alliance's board of directors approved a resolution asking that the town abandon its demolition plans for the 110-year-old building, located off Richmond Hill Road on the northern edge of the park. Instead, the group wants the town to promote and arrange for "adaptive reuse" of the building, directly or through a different entity.

Beckett, who has lived at her Oenoke Ridge home for 22 years, believes something can – and should – be done to keep the building standing. She and others hoping to save the structure say it is a brick barn and an important part of town history.

"We understand the town will not easily relinquish it," Beckett said. "But it seems to me that organizations that have raised their hands and shown interest in rehabbing it should be given that opportunity. And it doesn't cost the town a thing."

Last week, the Board of Selectmen voted to hire a firm to obtain samples for environmental testing and prepare a study in advance of possibly razing the structure. Town officials want tear down the building, which is being used as a storage facility.

Beckett is confident it can be repaired, especially with the building eligible for grant money now that it is listed on the state's Register of Historic Places .

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