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Plan for old Litchfield jail unveiled for the public
Litchfield.bz (02-20-15)


During Thursday's public hearing before the Litchfield Historic District Commission, landscape architect Bruce Reinheimer explains a rendering of what the old Litchfield jail would look like under an adaptive re-use plan. BZ photo

A public hearing on a an adaptive re-use plan for the former Litchfield jail in the center of town began Thursday before the Borough of Litchfield's Historic District Commission.
 
The plan was presented by architect Greg Grew of Woodbury and landscape architect Bruce Reinheimer of Fairfield, consultants working for the building's owner, Russell Barton of Litchfield, and his partners in the project.
 
The public hearing drew a full house to the HDC office on Russell Street and is scheduled to resume in March. Barton and his partners are planning a mix of commercial, residential and retail use.
 
Grew and Reinheimer's presentation included architectural renderings showing the work proposed for the inside and outside of the building. The HDC is being asked to approve  new windows and doors, an elevated walkway on the south side of the building facing the Green, a retaining wall, new stairs and walkways, and new exterior lighting.
 
The plan also calls for the building's red paint to be removed so the exterior brick would be exposed. According to Grew, much care has been taken to preserve the architectural integrity of the exterior.
 
Barton and his partners have even agreed to leave the bars on the third-story windows facing the Green as a sign of their commitment to preserving the building's character. During informal meetings with the commission in December and January, some commission members expressed concern about the initial plan to remove all of the bars.
 
There was no negative reaction from the public although Greater Litchfield Preservation Trust representative Perley Grimes encouraged the commission to be careful in its review of the plan and to do its best to protect the character of the historic district. The proposed elevated walkway, Grimes noted, would be a first for the historic district.
 
Gail McTaggart, the Waterbury attorney representing Barton and his partners, said the walkway would a "singular situation" for Litchfield. Grew added that the walkway would meet U.S. Department of Interior standards and would not change the character of the building.
 
"We've gone to great pains to address the concerns that have been expressed to us," Grew said.
 
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