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Duff announces funding for Wall Street, Lockwood Mathews Mansion

Travers: ‘We are very much on our way’ to Wall Street transformation

Norwalk Director of Transportation, Mobility, and Parking James Travers shows off planned changes to the Wall Street area, during a recent Zoom session.
State Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff (D-25), at last week’s press conference outside West Rocks Middle School.

Updated, 3:30 p.m. Wednesday: More information.

NORWALK, Conn. — Norwalk is set to get State funding for improvements on Wall Street and to the Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum, State Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff (D-25) said Monday.

The State Bond Commission, during a Thursday meeting, is expected to approve:

  • $3.5 million to upgrade the intersection of Wall Street at West Avenue/Belden Avenue and Mott Avenue. “The upgrades aim to modernize, improve safety, and accommodate for bicycles.”
  • $3 million for renovations at Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum. “The museum is looking to update HVAC, electrical, alarms, and fire prevention system.”

The City is looking to transform the Wall Street area, said Director of Transportation, Mobility, and Parking James Travers just ahead of November’s election. The Common Council subsequently approved a $350,000 contract with Fuss & O’Neill, a civil and environmental engineering firm. This was expected to kick off a 12–18-month process of designing changes to the Wall Street/West Avenue area, including redesigning the intersection of Wall, West and Belden Avenues.

Construction would take about the same length of time, said Travers.

The $3.5 million “will support the continued renovation and improvements of Wall Street to strengthen the neighborhood as a friendly and safe place for Norwalkers and visitors alike especially cyclists and pedestrians,” Duff said in a news release.

Travers said Wednesday that the intersection itself will cost $3 million.

The release explains:

  • The current conditions of this intersection reflect an outdated roadway design model, lacking safe pedestrian passage, poor bicycle accommodations and a higher than average crash rate. The City is currently in design of reimagining this corridor as a vibrant urban center after decades of studies and planning.
  • The project will improve the operations and safety of the corridor by normalizing the intersection while creating the modern infrastructure necessary to support growth of development and businesses. The re-design will strengthen the identity of this diverse neighborhood by creating open green space and a pedestrian plaza anchoring both sides of this gateway to historic Wall Street. A new traffic control system will improve vehicle movements through the intersection while also improving safety and mobility for both cyclists and pedestrians.
  • This intersection will serve as a signature project for the forthcoming larger Wall Street corridor and neighborhood improvements. The project will set the precedent for a walkable urban core and improve accessibility to Norwalk Transit District’s Pulse Point as well as the Norwalk Public Library, the Historic Wall Street Theater, housing, and a variety of local businesses. It is important to note, that the area will soon be home to the Norwalk Conservatory of the Arts, a four-year institution that will be moving to Wall Street.”

 

Travers said Wednesday that the entire project will cost $13-15 million. TMP has already secured $1.5 million for Phase I, the East Wall Street work, and a Local Transportation Capital Improvement Program (LOTCIP) grant application for nearly $4 million “has received some positive preliminary comments” and, “We just owe them one other piece of information that we are working on.”

Last year, Travers said Mayor Harry Rilling had committed $1.7 million of American Rescue Plan funding to the project.

“We are very much on our way to making sure this happens,” Travers said Wednesday. “…  I really think that the funding that Senator Duff was able to secure will be instrumental in providing the seed to make this a reality.”

“Upgrading the intersection of Wall Street at West Avenue/Belden Avenue and Mott Avenue has been a top priority for my Administration and our Transportation, Mobility, and Parking team is beginning the community engagement process for the design,” Rilling said in Monday’s news release. “This funding will bring significant economic development benefits for small businesses and residents along the corridor, creating a vibrant urban center that is safer for all modes of transportation: walkers, cyclists, and drivers.”

“These state funds we are approving for Norwalk will make important transportation safety improvements in the town, and also ensure that one of our treasured tourist attractions – the Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum – has a modernized facility to continue its operations,” said Gov. Ned Lamont, who serves as chairman of the State Bond Commission, in the release. “I’m glad that we can partner with the City of Norwalk on these projects.”
The news release explained:

  • The Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum renovation was originally conceived in 2008 and was estimated to cost approximately $7.5 Million. Lockwood procured funding from private foundations, the State of Connecticut and the City of Norwalk to perform the work.
  • All stand-alone improvements have been accomplished, but Lockwood never had sufficient funds to tackle the largest item – the interconnected mechanical systems. This work which includes HVAC, electric, alarm, IT and a fire suppression system, must be done concurrently due to the historic nature of the property – the walls and ceilings cannot be opened repeatedly – requiring the work to be done at one time.
  • Over the past 14 years costs have escalated significantly and additional funds are required to complete the work. Without the completion of new HVAC, electrical, alarm, IT and fire suppression system, the museum will be unable to provide a key cultural destination for the city and the region.
  • The Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum is regarded as one of the earliest and most significant Second Empire Style country houses in the United States. Built by renowned financier and railroad tycoon LeGrand Lockwood from 1864-1868, the Mansion illustrates the beauty of the Victorian Era. When the building was threatened with demolition in the 1960s, concerned citizens saved the Mansion and later formed the Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum of Norwalk, Inc., a 501(c)(3), which was designated a National Historic Landmark, in 1971.”

 

“The Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum is a treasured historical monument here in Connecticut. This funding will help the museum continue much-needed upgrades that have been ongoing for over a decade,” Duff said in the release.

To the Democratic Town Committee, Duff said, “These are two priorities that were identified by the city.” The State funding “helps to allow the city to use something like six and a half million dollars of resources for other projects that they would have otherwise paid for.”

Comments

12 responses to “Duff announces funding for Wall Street, Lockwood Mathews Mansion”

  1. DryAsABone

    Bob brings home the pork…as in lipstick on a pig.
    State bonded. Generations to come get to pay for this.
    Sort of like the announcement today that Ned will be giving Sikorsky another $75 million to stay until 2042. This, after Malloy gave the company $220 million to stay until 2032. Time flies when you spend public money…

  2. DrewT

    I know many many school buildings that could use $3.5 Million in Upgrades. Where is that Money Bob?! OH That’s right you’re taking $189 million and sinking it into a horrible NHS Project that NO ONE besides you and those you have threatened if they opposed it want. But we keep being reminded how this is all about you Bob. It’s really sad and trust me the people see right through you.

  3. Norwalker

    Will this be like the sinking brick crosswalks project, which has done nothing but create more road hazards?

  4. Piet Marks

    Thank you, Bob. Undoubtedly there will be discussions about this plan but that sh(c)ould be part of getting different points of view together and finally improve and further rethink of this, what could be hub of activity.

  5. Audrey Cozzarin

    Congratulations to Jim Travers and his team, and many thanks to Senator Duff for funds which will help bring needed improvements to Wall Street. Safer walking/biking in this area of the city is a big plus for Norwalk!

  6. Patrick Cooper

    Having searched the Norwalk town web page extensively, I still couldn’t find the job title for “podium delivery man” that seems so essential to our everyday proclamations. I mean, when politicians want to make a big deal about how they are spending our tax dollars, it seems they cannot perform this task without a podium. Perhaps it hides the stack of phone books.

    Now – it’s all about perspective. When you point at the big dollar signs – and you roll out charts & graphs and power point presentations, well the average Joe voter can easily be impressed with all the largess. Except – when you put the return in context – say, to the tax dollars that Norwalk sends to the state. Then it is the equivalent of “take a penny” tray donations.

    What is also special about Norwalk – is just how giving our representatives are – to all the neighboring leafy towns. Wilton, Weston, Easton, Ridgefield etc., they typically come south to get to where they are going (NYC, Stamford), and we roll out the welcome mat with all the infrastructure (three train stations, SoNo parking garage, Route 7 connector, etc., etc. – because you see – we pay the price for their convenience. But extend the connector north? When Ned, Chris, Chris, Bob, Bob, Bob, and Bob along with Harry made such a fuss about sidewalks on West Rocks – no one cared to ask them – when will the connector be extended at minimum to route 33 at route 106? Remember when journalists asked questions?

    Further – have any of them said a word about what is going on around the Merit at exit 40? I believe they want to finish the interchange all the way around – but – it sure does seem – with all the grading, tree clearing, and power placed beneath West Rocks – that they plan to create a new exit off the merit – on to West Rocks Road. And another neighborhood is obliterated by Hartford’s drive for density.

    Can we get any of them on the record saying definitively – that is NOT the plan. That would be nice.

  7. Ben G

    Where is the money for the improvement of the schools? I would certainly think that repairing school buildings is more important than these two projects. Why are we getting the state to pay for these public projects rather than the schools that Norwalk kids attend? Could it be the visibility of these projects?

    Oh, its an election year. Silly me, I forgot.

  8. Bobby Lamb

    These comments seem straight from the Onion. Duff doesn’t bring any money back to norwalk! Duff brings too much money back to norwalk! Duff isn’t bringing enough money back for schools construction! Duff is bringing back too much money for school construction! Seriously though Norwalk is lucky to have such a dedicated and EFFECTIVE representative in Hartford. He does more for this city in a week than most of these commenters will their entire lives. Thank you Bob and please know Norwalk appreciates you.

  9. Nancy McGuire

    Good to see that Wall Street is getting some attention. At the moment, going out for a cup of coffee is like crossing Interstate 95. This new intersection will help to slow the traffic through the neighborhood.

    It’s been an amazing spring for Wall Street. We have a new bakery, a new Italian coffee Caffe’, a new cookie baker, new ice cream maker, a new church (Vox Church), and coming soon – a ramen restaurant, a ladies consignment store and a new nail salon.

    And the Wall Street Theater is hitting its stride with new shows.

    While I’m on the subject. Do you like to garden? Please come out and help us plant the Vinca in the tree wells on Saturday, April 9th, between 9:30 and 12:00. Bring garden gloves, a hoe, and little shovel. Questions? Email Nancy at [email protected].

  10. Steve

    Totally agree Bobby Lamb- horrors of horrors – the latest was he drove through a red light with his dogs head sticking out the window ! And every 2 years they think they have rhe next best candidate to beat—- and they lose! Great news Nancy McGuire – been to the new cafe but have to try the other new stores

  11. Piet Marks

    Don’t forget Kosta,jewelers, on Wall Street, wonderful people. I leave with a smile on my face every time I go in for a battery, a repair or something else.

  12. Piberman

    Is there any other City in CT or the nation where City leaders grandly announcing a modest sized improvement for our embarrassing Downtown make the bizarre claim that “Norwalk is on its way” ? Real Cities have office buildings, office parks and even City Hall itself located Downtown each encouraging new business and good jobs. But our City leaders have other “ambitions”. Bring on the renters and apartment buildings because in Norwalk “renters bring growth”. America are you listening ?

    Hasn’t any Norwalk City official taken high school Economics 101 ? Just one ? it’s really embarrassing. As is our decades long 10% Downtown Poverty rate. Instead of renters not paying their fair share of taxes for City services focus on bringing in good jobs. Do it as an “experiment” for Norwalk citiziens. Ask how we bring good jobs to our Downtown ! Hint. Ask business folks.

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