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Wall Street Neighborhood Association works to transform area

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The Wall Street Neighborhood Association (“WSNA”) has built significant momentum over the past six months.  We are residents, retailers, business owners and building owners located in the Wall/Main Street neighborhood.  We came together to help foster the transformation of this once thriving business district into what we all know it could be – a classic urban corridor where people live/work and enjoy the benefit of local retailers, restaurants and nightly entertainment, all within walking distance.

As residents, business owners, and building owners, we understand what is, has and continues to impede this area’s progress.  We are not here to complain – we see the possibility and we are invested in making that happen.  While none of us has all the answers, together, through constant dialogue and listening we have developed a comprehensive plan of revitalization that is supported by a large, and growing number of stakeholders.  This includes, but is not limited to, the following initiatives:

  1. to support the arts and entertainment on Wall Street through music, film and visual arts events;
  2. to help our vendors prosper through advertising, events, training and cross marketing;
  3. to treat the Wall/Main area as an open-air mall with a complimentary and healthy competitive tenant mix;
  4. to re-open the Wall Street Train Station, essential to foster economic vitality;
  5. to improve the view and recreational access to the Norwalk River;
  6. to work with other non-profit groups, including the CNNA, and the City in public/private partnership to improve streetscapes, safety and maintenance;
  7. to encourage the re-writing of the City’s zoning ordinance and policies to be more in line with current trends in urban revitalization and sustainability.

 

WSNA is organized, diversified, focused and vibrant and open to anyone who wants to be part of this exciting adventure.  We believe our next step is to team with an experienced advisor to help us move Wall Street to the next level.  We believe we have found that advisor in the “CT Main Street Center” organization.

Nancy McGuire

Wall Street Neighborhood Association Chairwoman

6 comments

Sue Haynie December 16, 2018 at 6:47 am

I applaud the efforts of the Wall Street Neighborhood Association (WSNA). I am a little concerned that so few members of WSNA are taxpaying homeowners/residents of Norwalk.

I would suggest that WSNA expand their definition of ‘residents’ and reach out to Wolfpit/Westport Ave, Cranbury and Silvermine residents. Wall Street is where the Post Office and library branch for these neighborhoods reside. It’s where real estate agents (whether they want to or not) have to point prospective buyers when asked where our neighborhoods’ ‘downtown’ is.

Homes in my area of Wolfpit/Wesport Avenue, according to Tyler Tech, increased on average 13%–if only that were true! The reality is, we’ve all seen a Decrease in our property values of 10%+. Several homeowners have placed their homes on the market in the last year or two and, after months of low-ball offers, they gave up.

I believe the current blighted condition of Wall Street, my neighborhood’s downtown’, is directly contributing to the decrease in our home values. Wall Street negatively affects the quality of life and atmosphere of our neighborhoods.

Piberman December 16, 2018 at 11:15 am

If Downtown residents (and others) want to encourage a traditional vibrant Downtown with an active business community offering good jobs they’ll need elect a City leadership that understands the requirements of a vibrant Downtown, hires professional Development specialists to attract major new firms and provide “encouragement” to bring good jobs to Downtown. Best I can judge none of Norwalk’s Mayors or Council members have those requisite skills. So Norwalk remains a troubled “commuter City” where its private business sector forms only 5% of its Grand List – lowest proportion in the State.

Downtown was far more attractive and vibrant 3 and 4 decades ago when we had a healthy small business community. But agaisnt strong criticism our Mayor and Council members welcomed Big Box with expected results – low wages/taxes and virtual destruction of our once prominent small business community.

Nearby Stamford shows what can be done with well qualified elected officials. It’s CT’s only real City with real jobs. Danbury, too, which spends 30% less per capita than Norwalk is another. And has a substantial business sector. Elected officials without major business experience seem to always fail to understand why business avoids locating in Norwalk. And our inner City residents are always puzzled why they have little or no access to good jobs in Norwalk. Many of us wonder why our well paid City employees live outside Norwalk.

Creating vibrant attractive Downtowns with good jobs isn’t rocket science. Tens of thousands of cities across America have managed that. Economic growth takes place in cities having capable leaders who encourage new business. Norwalk’s residents have yet to learn the basics of urban development. As long as we elect officials w/o business experience who are uninterested in Downtown why expect change.

City officials had an opportunity to hire an Economic Director with a proven track record of seeking out and attracting major businesses. But they chose not to that. Securing a new hire with a transportation background. So we know the future.

Norwalk’s great trajedy is that we do not provide good jos for our lower income inner City residents enabling them to prosper, raise facilities and form strong communities. Access to good jobs is the secret to success of any large community. But the only really good jobs in large supply in Norwalk is working for local government. And those employees by and large refuse to live in our City.

It’s really quite astonishing that in a City of commuter towns surrounded by wealthy highly successful towns within easy commuting distance of NYCity and Stamford we find Norwalk hasn’t changed its shabby Downtown in decades. That reflects our political leadership. And a lack of interest of our citizens. Maybe the sad truth is that in our transient community with now 40% renters there just aren’t enough of us who care about creating a real City so those with limited circumstances can achieve major success.

When millions of immigrants crossed the seas to America they knew in advance good jobs waited for them. Norwalk’s citizens and leadership havent’ learned the basic lesson that access to good jobs make for great cities. CT has but one “great City” – Stamford. We ought to learn how and why it became successful. A commuter City is not a good candidate for success in our hi-tech world.

I’m often asked by business colleagues why Norwalk doesn’t have a 4 year college. My answer is always the same. Neither Norwalk’s leaders nor residents want one. Ditto with Downtown. If Norwalk residents wanted a real vibrant Downtown they’d seek out elected leaders dedicated to making that happen and seek out the expertise required.

Piberman December 16, 2018 at 4:37 pm

Sue Haynie:

Norwalk’s shabby depressed So No Downtown goes back many many decades. As long as SoNo was the home ground of the City’s lower income residents little attention was paid. Now that homeowners outside the central core are fully aware of falling property values despite the new assessments some more attention is paid to Downtown. And appreciation that a shabby Downtown affects all properties in Norwalk.

Will the new Economic Director Chief hired at $155 with a transportation background help revitalize Downtown ? Time will tell. Meanwhile the more than 1,000 high end homes for sale in the surrounding wealthy towns suggest falling property values is the “new normal” in Norwalk. Despite City Halls’ perplexing Revaluation results. Higher taxes on declining property values are the only constant here.
Unless and until we have a City leadership with the ability and determination to reduce City outlays. LOL.

Jason Milligan December 16, 2018 at 6:18 pm

Norwalk leadership has been pushing large-scale bad ideas and projects for decades in complete contradiction to what the residents of Norwalk want.

The Wall Street Neighborhood has formed out of some of this frustration. They promote and support small-scale simple ideas that will make incremental improvements, and the members are the people making the small improvements.

The question is whether the leaders will realize some of the errors in judgment and start listening and collaborating with the people or if they will double down on bad policies of the past.

The things I am trying to do for the area are having a small impact. Wall Street would come would be vibrant again in no time if the city embraced some of the things I am trying to do instead of fighting me at every turn.

The things I am doing and trying to do are not rocket science and they are not my ideas. I am listening to the people. What a novel idea…

Hugh Sling December 16, 2018 at 7:06 pm

Good intentions but Downtown’s a dump. The city goverment is the enemy of the people. Most residents just ignore the disaster, feeling fortunate to not live in a blited project with six feet of water in the basement where rats swim around floating garbage and feces. The mayor do’nt do nothing except take smily pictures and take money, and the council sits there jabbering and might as well stay home and bag it.

Sue Haynie December 17, 2018 at 11:26 pm

Below is a real estate listing for a home in Norwalk’s Wolfpit/Westport Avenue area:
“This architecturally unique and versatile home…minutes away from shopping, restaurants and downtown Westport.”

Left unmentioned for obvious reasons, this home is also ‘minutes away’ from Norwalk’s Wall Street, this Norwalk home’s actual ‘downtown’ area.

https://www.homesnap.com/homes/for_sale/CT/Norwalk/06851/p_21,54580/d_3/c_41.125603,-73.392495/z_14/m_7,72490238

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