The cold weather that has gripped the area this winter has caused some costly damage to the town of New Canaan.
The Department of Public Works is looking at a total of more than $100,000 in freeze and water damage to the New Canaan Nature Center and the New Canaan Playhouse, Director Michael Pastore told the town's Board of Finance Feb. 11.
All incidents took place over the same weekend in early January.
The worst damage was at the nature center's greenhouse, where a water pipe recently broke on the upper level. By the time nature center employees saw the damage on Monday morning, the flooding had gone all the way downstairs past the offices, bathrooms and boiler room, Pastore said.
"That's pretty significant," he said. "That's got to be rebuilt."
A pipe on the outside wall of the nature center's education building also broke that weekend, but the flooding only went over the outside of the facility.
"That's relatively minor compared to the first one," Pastore said.
The New Canaan Playhouse, which is owned by the town, has also seen some damage, which Pastore believes was caused by the cold weather that same weekend in January. Since then, the playhouse has had water seeping in through the window frames on the upper level of the facility. Pastore said the damage could be one of two things: either the bricks and mortar are so old that they're leaking and need to be resealed or the joint between the roof flashing and the parapet on the roof is damaged.
Pastore said the cold did not cause the damage at the playhouse, but he believes it made it worse.
"When you have the cold, it's easier for cracks to open," he said.
Pastore said a roof consultant will look into the damage as soon as the snow is out of the way.
The good news, Pastore told the board, is that all the damage will be covered by insurance and the insurer has also agreed to pay for the consultant's fees.
The first to see repairs will be the nature center's education building, which is likely to happen early next month, according to Pastore. The greenhouse would come next, but the playhouse would have to wait until spring, he said.
Pastore said he doesn't believe the damage was preventable, especially the burst water pipes at the nature center.
"The fact that it happened on a weekend made it worse," he told the board, because no one was there to try to stop it.
First Selectman Robert Mallozzi, who is also chairman of the Board of Finance, said the damage could have been worse, as it has been to so many towns this winter.
"Fortunately, it wasn't as severe as some other towns around us," Mallozzi said. "It's sad, but the truth is, we're pretty lucky that it wasn't more of our buildings."
Pastore agreed, "Our damage was annoying, but relatively minor."
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