CNI News - Press Coverage - 2016 Archive

This page chronicles the Choice Neighborhoods Initiative and Washington Village in the news.


The HourWashington Village Rebuild Clears Latest Hurdle
By Robert Koch, Thursday, December 29, 2016

NORWALK - Officials this week cleared one of the last paperwork hurdles in the long-planned effort to rebuild Washington Village.

On Thursday, Mayor Harry W. Rilling signed documents allowing the transfer of city-owned parcels at 13 and 20 Day St. to the Norwalk Housing Authority.

The deed transfers will allow Boston-based developer Trinity Financial, LLC to begin construction in the coming weeks on 80 new apartments at the development site in South Norwalk.

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The HourNorwalk Health Department, library team up for healthy resolutions
By Kaitlyn Krasselt, Tuesday, December 27, 2016 - The Hour

NORWALK - With the heavy holiday meals out of the way, many Norwalkers will begin setting their New Year resolutions this week in hopes of a healthier 2017.

The Norwalk Public Library and the Norwalk Health Department are teaming up to help people get started and stay on track with a six-week program to help with healthy resolutions.

Whether it's a better diet, more exercise, reducing stress or losing weight, the program will address all of those goals.

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Nancy on NorwalkNorwalk political notes: The Washington Village price tag, including the CNI $30 million
By Nancy Chapman - Nancy on Norwalk, December 27 2016

The Washington Village price tag, including the CNI $30 million
The total cost of rebuilding Washington Village, once all three phases are complete, is estimated to be $140 million to $150 million, Norwalk Housing Authority Choice Neighborhoods Director Tom Ivers said.

"The South Norwalk's Choice Neighborhoods Transformation Plan calls for rebuilding the 136 Washington Village public housing units into a new 273-unit mixed-income development on three parcels – the current Washington Village site and two City-owned vacant properties immediately to the north," a flier for the project said.

So, if you do the math on 273 apartments for $140-150 million, you'll come up with $512,820 to $549,450 per apartment, but it's not quite that simple, Ivers said.

Neither is coming up with an estimate for the total cost. Ivers said: "The second and third phases of construction are 18-36 months away so any estimate would be a guess at best. Phase I is budgeted around $45 mil but this includes environmental remediation. Phases II & III have more units and all three structures need to be elevated...

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Nancy on NorwalkRyan Park, contaminated with PCBs,
to close for eight months

Nancy Chapman - Nancy on Norwalk, Dec 16, 2016

NORWALK, Conn. - There's a "significant environmental hazard" in Ryan Park, a pair of licensed environmental professionals said Thursday, in explaining to a tough pair of questioners why the park is suddenly being fenced off.

Significant environmental hazard is a technical term used in a state statute, Jeffery Wilson of Weston & Sampson, said in explaining to Rick Reardon and Diane Cece the notification procedures mandated by the state. The surprising specifics unveiled by testing, results delivered to the city in mid-October, mandated a 90-day notice period, he said.

"We have a situation where we have PCBs (Polychlorinated Biphenyl) in soils within the top two feet of soils in concentrations at or about 15 parts per million," Wilson said. "That triggers a reportable position to the Connecticut DEEP (Department of Energy and Environmental Protection). … The city has an obligation to report that to the Connecticut DEEP within 90 days of when the test result was discovered."

PDF Read more: Ryan Park, contaminated with PCBs, to close for eight months
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The HourRyan Park Closes for Renovation
By Kaitlyn Krasselt, Monday, December 12, 2016 - The Hour

NORWALK — By the end of the week, fencing will have completely closed off Ryan Park in South Norwalk as the city prepares for a complete renovation of the two-acre green space.

The project is part of an expansive renovation of nearby Washington Village through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's Choice Neighborhoods Program. Ryan Park is a two-acre city-owned park adjacent to Washington Village.

Susan Sweitzer, senior project manager for the Norwalk Redevelopment Agency, said their will be some use of the park - limited parking - until Christmas, but after that the entirety of the park will be surrounded by fencing as the city starts remediation efforts in order to renovate the park.

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The HourWashington Village rebuild poised to begin
By Robert Koch, Tuesday, November 29, 2016 - The Hour

NORWALK — A decade in planning, the rebuilding of Washington Village got under way Monday morning with a ceremonial groundbreaking on Day Street attended by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and about 150 others.

"It's been a project that really should have been executed many years ago, but for want of funds and want of partnerships it didn't move forward the way it could and should have, but now we are celebrating a number of things," Malloy said.

The governor said Washington Village, once rebuilt, will provide residents larger and better apartments while preserving affordable housing, bringing market-rate housing to the neighborhood and "making people safer as a result of moving their units, their homes, out of (above) the floodplain."

PDF Read more: Washington Village rebuild poised to begin
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Nancy on NorwalkOfficials break ground at Norwalk's
Washington Village

Nancy Chapman - Nancy on Norwalk, Nov 29, 2016

NORWALK, Conn. - The construction of a new Washington Village is ready to begin, at long last.

This development was marked Monday with a ceremonial groundbreaking. "Today is a very exciting first step in Phase One redevelopment of Washington Village," Norwalk Housing Authority Executive Director Curtis Law said in a press release. "This initiative represents total collaboration of Federal, State and Local agencies. We look forward to the completion of Phase One and the beginning of Phase Two and Three."

PDF Read more: Officials break ground at Norwalk's Washington Village
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Westfair CommunicationsDevelopment in Norwalk stretching
well beyond forthcoming mega-mall

By Kevin Zimmerman, September 22, 2016 - Westfair

Mention development in Norwalk to non-Norwalk residents, and you'll probably receive a remark or two about the SoNo Collection, the 700,000-square-foot mall that's been the subject of a whirlwind of meetings over the past year.

While that is a massive project - one that "is going to be transformational for Norwalk and for South Norwalk in particular," said Felix Serrano, chairman of the Norwalk Redevelopment Agency board of commissioners - it is hardly all that is happening in what some locals still call Oyster Town.

Chief among those is the South Norwalk Transit Oriented Development Redevelopment Plan, designed to redevelop underused properties for commercial and residential uses in and around the South Norwalk Metro-North Railroad station while beautifying area streets and sidewalks.

PDF Read more: Development in Norwalk stretching well beyond mega-mall
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The HourTransit-Oriented Development
takes hold in Norwalk

Updated 5:32 pm, Friday, September 23, 2016 - The Hour

NORWALK - U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy used the newly completed SoNo Pearl Apartments on Washington Street on Friday to highlight Norwalk's growing transit-oriented development.

Such development is aimed at revitalizing urban areas by getting people to live in places where they can walk to transit centers such as the South Norwalk Train Station.

"This is the economic salvation of Connecticut right here," said Murphy, D-Conn., standing inside the lobby of the SoNo Pearl Apartments at 101 Washington St. "Our ability to market Norwalk and Stamford and Bridgeport to young people, to give them a reason to come and to stay, to hold younger families, is ultimately going to be the key to our success."

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The HourGeneral contractor chosen for
Washington Village rebuild

By Robert Koch - The Hour, September 8, 2016

NORWALK - A Rhode Island-based construction company has been chosen to spearhead the first phase of the Washington Village Transformation Plan.

Norwalk Housing Authority Executive Director Curtis O. Law said Trinity Financial, the Boston-based real estate development firm assigned to rebuild Washington Village, has selected Dimeo Construction Co. as its general contractor for phase one of the project.

Trinity Financial will update the NHA Board of Commissioners at its September meeting.

"It's to let them know who's going to do the work and how he goes about meeting the Section 3 requirements," Law said. "We want to make sure that the project provides the maximum amount of job opportunities for our clients and people in Norwalk."

PDF Read more: General contractor chosen for Washington Village rebuild
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The HourNorwalk Community Health Center
thanks patients with Health and Wellness Day

Julia Gorman - The Hour, July 23, 2016

NORWALK - The Norwalk Community Health Center celebrated its second annual Community Health and Wellness Day on Saturday at John H. Ryan Park with free food, music, sporting events and information from health service vendors.

"We want to say thank you to our over 13,000 patients," said Craig Glover, CEO of the Norwalk Community Health Center.

PDF Read more: Norwalk Community Health Center thanks patients with Health and Wellness Day
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Nancy on NorwalkRyan Park Design Debated by Norwalk Activists
Nancy Chapman - Nancy on Norwalk, July 21, 2016

NORWALK, Conn. - A happy presentation about a design for Ryan Park described as "really, really good" by Second Taxing District Commissioner Sandra Stokes morphed Tuesday into a debate about dry egress.

Gary Sorge of Stantec, after explaining that part of the goal for the proposed Ryan Park was to avoid an institutional feel and meet a variety of community needs, rebutted the assertion that the design was created solely to provide the raised path needed for the neighboring Washington Village project.

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Nancy on NorwalkNHA looks for Washington Village
Construction in October

Mark Chapman - Nancy on Norwalk, July 5, 2016

NORWALK, Conn. - Norwalk officials are ready to move forward with the construction of the new Washington Village after holding off due to a squishy deadline of when the Friends of Ryan Park would no longer be able to file an appeal of the recent court ruling.

Construction on Norwalk Housing Authority's new Washington Village is expected to begin in October, according to documents provided to the Board of Estimate and Taxation (BET), which will on Tuesday consider a tax break for the Water Street development's affordable and public housing.

PDF Read more: NHA looks for Washington Village construction in October
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The HourWashington Village rebuild set to advance
The Hour, By Robert Koch, Sunday, June 26, 2016

NORWALK — With a legal challenge now passed, the Norwalk Housing Authority Board of Commissioners next month will get a clearer picture of how the long-awaited reconstruction of Washington Village will proceed.

Curtis O. Law said Trinity Financial, LLC, the Boston-based developer chosen to rebuild Washington Village, will update commissioners at a special meeting July 6.

"Trinity has gone out to bid to contract with a company so that we can start the construction," Law said. "Because of the delay, they had to rebid it. I would think before the end of the year, hopefully October or November, groundbreaking would occur."

PDF Read more: Working to preserve affordable housing in South Norwalk
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Working to preserve affordable housing in South Norwalk
The Hour, April 21, 2016

NORWALK — A Haviland Street house that once housed a thrift shop is slated for a major fix up and sale through the South Norwalk Home Ownership Program.

"The next property in the program is 24 Haviland Street, which was purchased with community development block grant funds and will be rehabilitated with a combination of Choice Neighborhoods and Department of Housing funds," said Tami Strauss, director of community development planning at the Norwalk Redevelopment Agency. "We are actively looking for other properties around the South Norwalk Train Station with a goal of 10 properties over the course of the program."

PDF Read more: Working to preserve affordable housing in South Norwalk
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The HourWashington Village Clears Major Hurdle
The Hour, April 21, 2016

Enthusiasm builds for reconstruction after judge dismisses legal appeal

NORWALK, Conn. - Residents of Washington Village could see replacement of their outdated, undersized and flood-prone apartments fully under way next year.

A New Britain Superior Court judge this week dismissed an appeal that had the roughly $110-million Washington Village Transformation Plan on hold since last summer.

PDF Read more: Washington Village Clears Major Hurdle
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Nancy on NorwalkCourt rejects Friends of Ryan Park appeal
of DEEP Washington Village decision

Mark Chapman - Nancy on Norwalk, April 19, 2016

NORWALK, Conn. – The Superior Court Judicial District of New Britain, in a decision dated today (April 19) has tossed an appeal by Friends of Ryan Park (FORP) that has held up a $30 million federal grant to help pay for the rebuilding and redevelopment of Washington Village.

According to the court document, in part, "FORP has failed to demonstrate" that it has been harmed by the DEEP decision. "FORP harbors a generalized fear that DEEP's final decision will trigger DOH housing development actions that adversely impact the current at state of Ryan Park. … Finally, FORP lacks representational standing, because there was no evidence of individual aggrievement for its two known members. Due to plantiff's inability to establish statutory or classical aggrievement, the court lacks jurisdiction to decide the case. The administrative appeal is consequently dismissed."

PDF Read more: Court rejects Friends of Ryan Park appeal of DEEP
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Nancy on NorwalkNorwalk Council admonishes Friends of Ryan Park
Nancy Chapman - Nancy on Norwalk, September 9, 2015

NORWALK, CT - The Friends of Ryan Park should step out of the way and let South Norwalk residents get decent housing. Common Council members said Tuesday.

The Council unanimously passed a resolution to that effect, drubbing the Friends without naming the target of much of their accusations, FoRP President Ganga Duleep, with references to the lawsuit that is holding up the rebuilding of Washington Village.

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The HourWalking art tour of South Norwalk planned
Norwalk Hour, May 24, 2015

Norwalk. Students in the Norwalk Housing Authority After School Program are designing a guided tour of public art sites in South Norwalk.

On May 30, the students will lead members of the public on a walk to public sculptures, murals and installations in Soouth Norwalk, providing information about the art that may not be known to the average passerby.

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The HourPanel backs Washington Village plan
The Hour Publishing Company
Thursday, February 7, 2013

NORWALK - The proposed razing and rebuilding of Washington Village got a major boost from a Common Council subcommittee on Wednesday night.

On a unanimous vote,Planning Committee members advanced an option agreement under which he city may transfer city-owned land at 13 and 20 Day St. to the Norwalk Housing Authority for incorporation into a new Washington Village.

PDF Read more: Panel backs Washington Village plan

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