Outdoor art area to take root downtown
Where derelict barns now stand near Church Street in New Milford, an outdoor art space may soon be a reality.
Two of the town-owned barns there are scheduled to be razed. A third, larger barn will be restored.
The buildings are located between Church Street and Whittlesey Avenue. The property adjoins the New Milford Public Library property to its west.
The town's plan is for an art space to be developed behind Gallery25 along Church Street.
A $10,000 grant has been received from the state Department of Economic and Community Development to pay for architectural and engineering designs.
A preliminary design was drawn by the town in order to apply for the grant. It shows a patio-style area with walkways leading to it.
The paths will wind from Main Street along the library and from Church Street along Gallery25. The space could also be accessed from Whittlesey.
"This will give an alternative entertainment space," Mayor Pat Murphy said. "We envision several small artists' booths there like you see along the boardwalks at the seaside."
"I think it's a wonderful addition to downtown, and I'm happy to see the space will be used for the arts," Dubreuil said. "Having Gallery25 has shown me how many people from out of the area are coming to the downtown, drawn by the gallery and then discovering the village center."
Rob Burkhart, president of the New Milford Trust for Historic Preservation, said the trust fully approves of the barns coming down.
"This is a perfect use of the space," Burkhart said. "The buildings are derelict and falling apart. It will be good to have them taken down.
"As long as they can save the one barn and incorporate it into an art space, it will be good," he said.
Burkhart said having the outdoor art space behind the library with a walkway from Main Street and the Village Green will enhance Church Street as a destination.