Every few years, the First Selectman’s Maintenance Study Committee issues a report on the condition of Baron’s South.
The latest draft — delivered recently, following similar reports in 2014, 2018 and 2019 — was based on an inspection of Golden Shadows, former home of Baron Walter Langer von Langendorff. It was conducted by committee members 2nd Selectwoman Andrea Moore, committee chair Joseph Fuller, John Broadbin and Jack Klinge.
The report called for more frequent reviews of the building. Now used by the town for “light storage of first aid and critical response items,” it is one of several buildings in the 22-acre park between Compo Road South and Imperial Avenue. The rest is open space.
The report noted that apart from minor maintenance and renovations, Golden Shadows has not received any attention since the town took possession more than 20 years ago. The town spends approximately $50,000 a year on maintenance, the report said.
Since then, “major cracks” have appeared and grown. In addition, the report said:
- Bricks are deteriorating
- Front steps are spalling
- The front stone patio is leaking, and has become a liability issue.
- The site and grounds remain “somewhat overgrown.”
- Chimney repainting is warranted.
- Caulking is peeling.
- The heating system is functioning.
- Most of the walls are in satisfactory condition, though some sills are rotting.
- Woodwork appears satisfactory, though ceiling paint is peeling.
- Floors need cleaning.
- Roof slates appear to be in good shape, though gutter work should be done.
The committee recommends consideration of exterior improvements “almost immediately.” The same recommendation was made in 3 previous reports.
Interior work is needed too, “if the building is to be kept.” Costs are mounting: “A simple residential renovation” today would be over $1 million.
The report also recommended site work, including driveway repairs, grass cutting, and removal of one large tree.
Finally, the report noted that a restored building “could be rented like 3 other adjacent residential buildings on the property.”
1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker is reviewing the report.