A committee of the Danbury City Council is once again studying the ruins of Hearthstone Castle, this time to see if money should be spent for an engineering study.
Danbury's Planning Director says the condition of the castle and a variety of options for future use was studied by the Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation. The Castle is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, but is in a state of disrepair and closed to the public because of the significant safety issues. City officials say the Castle requires immediate attention and to be stabilized to prevent the walls from collapsing.
The Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation has a $20,000 grant available for a structural analysis. The City match would be $25,000.
Public Works Director Antonio Iadarola says there is evidence of people walking around where they're not supposed to be. He says the stone base makes the Castle a unique structure so the engineering study is not a run of the mill one. He says the $25,000 is a great price.
Councilman Warren Levy was among those against spending any more. He says the Castle has no historical value, it was done be a no-name architect as a wedding present. He says if there's a group of people that want to do something with the Castle, they should have a fundraiser and spend private dollars to preserve the structure.
Even if the City decides the best plan for the Castle is to tear it down, a study still needs to be done. Mayor Mark Boughton says the City can't leave the facility the way it is because someone is going to get hurt. He warned the Council that if he comes back to them for demolition money, he doesn't want them to vote no on that. He called the structure an attractive nuisance.
Future uses in a recent study range in cost and extent from walled gardens with an observation deck to a multipurpose facilities including an academy for specialized educational programs.