Plans are slowly coming together for what needs to be done to stabilize the remaining walls of Hearthstone Castle in Danbury. Residents approved $1.6 million in 2016 for design and construction plans for a walled garden. An environmental consultant has to be hired. A scope of work has been outlined for contractors to clear the structure of debris and contaminants. Engineers have said in the past that the basement would have to be filled, in order to stabilize the outer walls, which are all that remain of the castle after years of neglect. The roof and internal structure have collapse into the basement.
There are no utilities at the site, making new uses limited.
When plans were announced for a walled garden, there were questions remaining about how high the walls might be. Officials say they don't want to create a rock-climbing wall. Whether it's 15, 10, 5 or 3 foot walls has yet to be decided. Mayor Mark Boughton has called the site an attractive nuisance. Trespassers have spray painted the structure and cut through the fence many times over the years.
As often as the perimeter fence is repaired, Public Works Director Antonio Iadarola says it gets damaged again. He notes that vandals got into the structure this fall, and into the chimney some 30 feet up. He says the quicker the project is done, the better it's going to be, liability wise.
Hearthstone Castle was built in 1897 and occupied until 1983. The City purchased it as part of the acquisition of the Tarrywile property in 1985.