The show and tell portion of the Long Range Planning Committee's goal of improving several town buildings in New Canaan was the first order of business at its , held at Town Hall on Monday night.
The LRPC's to supply the town with information regarding the possible renovation and relocation of 13 buildings, including , the and , , and , began the evening with a series of presentations.
"This one was a pretty good one," said long-time New Canaan resident Dick Bergman. "It was very thorough. I think we're finally getting closer to what will be a final report."
After an array of consultants made presentations on everything from how much square footage is needed for each building, resolutions to the parking problems, and relocation options, a few members of the large audience, made passionate arguments against some of the things they heard.
"I think we're having the tail wag the dog," said Roy Abramowitz, a certified public accountant. "You can have beautiful plans and a scenario of how you want to develop something, but if the money is not there, you can't do it. I think they should figure out what the community wants and find out if the town has the dollars."
The consultants presented "conceptual alternatives" which included the relocation of Town Hall to the Park Street or Center School lots, showed the library moving to town center, and the fire department changing its address to the the Locust avenue lot. It looked like real estate symbols moving across a monopoly board and that hit home with a lot of people.
"We want to keep Town Hall our Town hall," Town Council member Beth Jones said. "It is part of the fabric of the community. I can't imagine losing it. I'm glad our ancestors and those who came before us resisted change. Thanks to them we have this lovely New Canaan village."
The consultants pointed out that, in most cases, renovation of a building can cost more than constructing one from the ground up. It was apparent from the meeting that many in town are not ready to say 'out with the old and in with the new.'
"There is a lot of character here that you just cannot duplicate," Bergman said."We have to be careful not to lose it."
Dan Radman, an architect from New Canaan, garnered cheers and laughs from the audience when he spoke, especially when he questioned what he considered to be a luxury for the Board of Education.
"The Board of Ed needs a new cafeteria? Really?" Radman asked with a tinge of sarcasm. Radman also wondered why, in this day and age of downsizing, the consultants were suggesting increased square footage for buildings across the board.
"Everyone is mobile and they use less of their desk," said Radman. "They don't need an office that is 10' by 15'. They don't need a cubicle that is 10' by 10'. They need to be smarter about how they work."
Christine Wagner, Chair of the LRPC, reiterated several times that this public forum was not for proposals, but rather ideas. No decisions would be made until the people were heard from and the consultants have a chance to re-assess their plans.
"We're not going to do this intuitively or anecdotally," Wagner said. "We hired professionals to do a professional job. One of the things they have yet to do is look at operational efficiencies and look at how we're using the buildings. And that's what they're going to do between now and the fall."
(Editor's Note: This article has been changed from the original version. Town Council member Beth Jones was incorrectly identified as Ruth Jones. Patch regrets the error.)