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SoNoCC hopes remodeling will be done by end of August

NORWALK, Conn. – Work on the South Norwalk Community Center will begin by the end of the month, SoNoCC board Chairman Ed Camacho said.

The construction work, which is planned to make classrooms for children and new bathrooms, is being paid for with Community Block Grant Development (CDBG) funding. The Common Council authorized $100,000 in 2013, but that work has not yet begun. The Council authorized another $100,000 this spring, and center officials said that Phase I and Phase II of the reconstruction would be done together.

Camacho said the contract had been signed on the second $100,000 in CDBG funding. “We’re are waiting on the contractor to make sure he is still on board, that nothing has changed,” Camacho said.

Norwalk Public Schools has been planning to use the center for an After the Bell afterschool program next fall. Despite a tumultuous few days two weeks ago, a week in which the board fired volunteer Executive Director Pat Ferrandino and wthat featured parents protesting for the removal of then-board Chairman Warren Peña, Norwalk Superintendent Manny Rivera said that plan is still on.

“It’s still our intention to operate an After the Bell program in South Norwalk, and we plan to continue working with leaders at SoNoCC and other community organizations to make it happen,” Rivera said in an email. “That said, there are a number of steps that need to take place before we can open the doors in a location, including inspections, state licensing, staffing, etc.  We hope to keep any potential delays to a minimum so that this program can open sometime this fall.”

“We’re hoping that it’s going to be done before the end of next month, but at least the first phase, because there are three phases and we’re going to do the first two,” Camacho said. “But at a minimum before the end of September so that we’ll be able to get the kids in there by October by the latest.”

Before departing, Ferrandino said the bids for the construction work came in higher than expected. That meant the bells and whistles were being scrapped, he said.

“The work wasn’t scaled back but rather put out to bid over three phases,” Redevelopment Agency Executive Director Tim Sheehan said in an email. “SoNoCC is proceeding with Phases I and II, which includes classrooms, bathrooms, lobby area, etc. — almost everything except renovations to the office space. The contract between the contractor, FV Construction, and SoNoCC is being drawn up now so that work can commence and be completed ASAP.”

Camacho said there is a deal with The Home Depot to provide some, if not all, of the supplies at cost. “We’re going to leave that up to contractor to see if he can close that deal,” he said.

11 comments

Don't Panic July 15, 2014 at 7:22 am

I hope the SNCC is working with SNEW to do energy efficient retrofitting at the same time.

Bill July 15, 2014 at 9:21 am

Shouldn’t someone from the city be vetting all bids from contractors after the possible corruption, or at minimum conflict of interest, we saw between Pena and his family in the past? I want to make sure the taxpayer money funding SoNoCC’s expansion is not going to overcompensated bidders who could be related to anyone on SoNoCC’s board.

Ms Ruby McPherson July 15, 2014 at 9:31 am

This can be a beautiful things, all jobs should be put out to bid, and posted for staff,(childcare providers, teachers, maintenance men and woman etc), its gotta be for the community all colors.

loveforthecity July 15, 2014 at 12:01 pm

Hey Bill, there was no corruption at SoNoCC, just disgruntled volunteers, who got everything they wanted but yet still attempted to burn down the house on their way out. Every organization has internal issues and you did a good job at hiding it. There is only one person out there trying to tarnish Pena’s good name every chance he gets, Bill aka Pat Ferrandino. I don’t think you need to worry about SoNoCC anymore, it’s time you moved on. Don’t worry about the bids, that’s all taken care of. Don’t worry about conflicts of interest, it’s not your concern anymore. Don’t worry about Pena and his family, they live in Norwalk and aren’t going anywhere. Since when were you concerned about taxpayer money when you were waiting to receive a lot of it in compensation from SoNoCC for you and your family? MOVE ON PAL! There is no room in Norwalk for you anymore!

Carlos Rodriguez July 15, 2014 at 12:58 pm

@love well said. SoNoCC need not focus on the noise created by those that like to see others fail. I like Mr. Camacho’s approach pile forward and continue as when the construction is done the community will be served properly. Bravo!

Dawn July 15, 2014 at 3:49 pm

i think that a proffessional should be collecting the bids. someone who knows about construction and the possible cost.
.
And to make sure that the contractors are not personal friend or family of anyone involved.
.
this would rule out any impropriety.

Ms Ruby McPherson July 15, 2014 at 5:05 pm

Well maybe you should watch out for Camacho:
He’s on the Board of Estimate and Taxing(who voted SoNoCC, them getting the grant money).
He’s chairman of the DTC(who don’t want to talk about issues, he should take up right then and there).
He’s on the board of the South Norwalk Community Center and Warren Pena and (SoNoCC attorney). All this is a bit too much!!
If I am wrong someone please correct me, but that is what I know of some.

Bill July 15, 2014 at 6:14 pm

If you guys don’t remember, Mark Chapman confirmed I’m not Pat Ferradino. You have no clue who I am, and you never will. I will continue to shine a light on corruption throughout Norwalk, but especially amongst our political class. If Pena isn’t hiding anything he should open up the books so we can also see who are getting these bids. If I remember correctly, Pena wanted more transparency for trash collection bids before he was kicked off the common council, yet now everyone just needs to trust that there are no extended family members benefiting or sweetheart deals with taxpayer money. Why the hypocrisy?

Pat Ferrandino July 15, 2014 at 8:27 pm

@LoveForTheCity, @Carlos Rodriguez, @ Warren Pena:

I haven’t posted a thing using any pseudo names whatsoever. I thank Bill, whomever he is, for his comments.

Warren, maybe its time that you move on, I have. It’s good to see SoNoCC’s Board finally putting in some effort! It’s certainly about time! 🙂

Best of luck!

Norwalk Cares July 16, 2014 at 12:17 am

“loveforthecity” needs a reality check- as does Edwin Camacho.
Warren Pena used SoNoCC resources for his private political gain. Warren Pena held a political meeting at the Center that gave every appearance of being a get out the vote event, but wasn’t.
Edwin Camacho has decided to offer protection to someone who might be able to help his political causes.
South Norwalk’s needs are second to their political needs.
These are facts.
As long as the SoNoCC board includes politicians and those who protect them, I wonder how many donors will trust them?

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