CNI News - Press Coverage

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

The Hour logoClarke's showroom gets OK for mixed-use plans
By Kelly Kultys, Sunday, March 10, 2019

Photo: CNI 13 Day Street seen on left
Note: CNI 13 Day Street seen on left (Photo: Erik Trautmann / Hearst Connecticut Media)
NORWALK - The Clarke Kitchen Appliance Showroom will have some more neighbors after the Zoning Commission approved Clarke Capital's mixed-use plans.

Their plans call for 40 residential units and almost 20,000 square feet of retail/showroom space on the block that runs along Elizabeth Street, from South Main Street to Day Street.

The main building, which will be on South Main Street, from the plan will be a five-story structure, with 29 apartments and the retail space. More than 10,000 square feet of the retail space will be for Clarke's existing showroom that has operated at the site since 2000. Clarke opened in 1955 as an appliance store and has grown into a wholesale distributor with showrooms across the New England area, including in South Norwalk.

"You actually have the primary retail tenant in place before construction and that's driving the construction, the opposite of about every apartment building that you've seen, which I think is a real positive," Attorney Adam Blank, who was representing the applicant, told the commission on Thursday.

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The Hour logoPublic housing: Once desired, now a decades-long decline in CT
By Justin Papp, Sunday, March 3, 2019

Mary Kingwood's home felt freshly settled.

The roomy first-floor apartment in a yellow house sits on a quiet street north of downtown - "up Norwalk," as Kingwood called it. On a winter morning, sunlight flooded through windows and a sliding glass door leading to a small porch, warming the kitchen and den. A TV sat atop a stand, encircled by plastic chairs - placeholders as Kingwood waited for her furniture to be delivered - and cardboard boxes lined the walls.

Kingwood, 73, likes her porch and the peacefulness she's found since moving two weeks ago into the Wilton Avenue home, which took her many months and multiple apartment visits to find with a Section 8 voucher.

Her search was narrowed by her congenital heart disease and the oxygen tank she must maneuver around her living space. Per her doctor's orders, only single-story, two-bedroom homes - for an aide, or her children, to watch her after she's had an episode - would do.
Several places had potential, but one had no closet space and another, she liked, "but they wanted water and electric and heat. Section 8 don't want to pay for that," Kingwood said.

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The Hour logoNorwalk police pursue new Community Outreach Vehicle
By Kelly Kultys, Monday, March 4, 2019

NORWALK - The Police Department wants to beef up its community outreach unit.

The department is in the process of purchasing and upfitting a "Community Outreach Vehicle" that will be used to provide information, a variety of resources and an avenue for the public to communicate with the officers, according to Deputy Chief Susan Zecca.

"We'll park it in the community, we'll have officers there to provide interaction," she told the Health, Welfare and Public Safety committee of the Common Council recently.

The committee approved the department's request to use up to $45,000 from the Choice Neighborhood Initiative Grant, which is administered by the Norwalk Housing Authority, to upfit the base van to include items like storage, countertops, a generator and an awning.

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The Hour logoAs Washington Village revitalization pushes forward, one family remains
By Justin Papp - Monday, January 7, 2019

NORWALK - Seeing the demolition in progress adjacent to Washington Village, and the boarded up windows in the project's still-standing buildings, FedEx trucks drive past the only apartment still inhabited. They assume the whole development is vacant.

That's a problem for Lucy Vallere, who has lived in Washington Village nearly 60 years and as of Thursday will be the lone dweller in final buildings slated to be razed. Vallere, now 63, has had a series of medical complications with her feet that have left her legs non-weight-bearing. She gets regular shipments of medical supplies that, as her neighbors have trickled out, have had to be diverted elsewhere, lest they be lost in the mail.

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