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Five Takeaways from Common Council 

Norwalk’s Common Council on Tuesday, February 13, 2024.

Among actions taken by Norwalk Common Council at its meeting Tuesday:

  • Approved a more than $2 million contract for the first phase of the Wall Street Corridor Improvement Project. “This is something that it’s been promised for I think 70 years now that Wall Street was going to be upgraded, but now it’s actually going to happen,” said Council member Jalin Sead, who represents the district. “So I know a lot of people are excited, the business owners as well as the residents. I’m really excited.” Jim Travers, the city’s director of Transportation, Mobility, and Parking, said the project was part of the promise he made to the community when he took this job. “We heard frustration from a community that was looking for change …and we made a commitment that we were going to start it as soon as possible. We didn’t have funding at that time. But we had a vision and we had a mayor that supports the movement in this direction and a council that is engaged so we are delivering on phase one,” he said. More public outreach for the next phases will take place this spring.
  • Accepted two grants from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation—one is a planning grant $322,000 to improve the resiliency, habitat, and public access at Veteran’s Park.The second is $502,700 grant for salt marsh rehabilitation and green infrastructure plans close to the new South Norwalk Elementary School. “The first grant is kind of a revitalization for both our residents and for the Long Island Sound habitat of that park,” said Alexis Cherichetti, senior environmental officer for the city. “The second that you mentioned is proximal to the new South Norwalk school—being at that location, we saw an opportunity to get grant funds to install green infrastructure … and we took that a step further and looked at where that stormwater discharges to our salt marsh that’s behind the industrial complexes on Meadow Street, and proposed to look into designs to their rehabilitate that wetland.” 
  • Approved an agreement with Gilbane Company for the Norwalk High School construction project, with an estimated cost not to exceed $219.6 million. “This really is an exciting project, particularly with the 80% reimbursement from the state,” said council member Barbara Smyth. “And this is the kind of project that really can be transformative for the city of Norwalk.” 
  • Rejected a bid from Shawn’s Lawns to do site work at the new site of the South Norwalk Elementary School because the company has outstanding zoning violations in the city. “In 2017 Shawn’s Lawns was cited for not being in compliance with Norwalk zoning regulations—they were operating a contractor’s yard without a permit,” said council member Barbara Smyth. “So they were cited at that time and although they did in 2019, two years later, apply for a special permit, they did not at that time re-comply with those requirements. Additionally, at that time, an environmental violation was found that they were not in compliance with the Aquifer Protection Act. And so nearly seven years later they are so out of compliance with Norwalk zoning and conservation regulations.” 
  • Invited residents to participate in Black History Month celebrations and remember the importance of African American contributions. Council member Greg Burnett said that it was “imperative to remember that Black history is American history. During the month of February and every month, we should continue to recognize and honor the contributions and achievements that have been made by black Americans to American history, to society, to the economy and to American culture.” Council member Dajuan Wiggins said that he wanted the council, which is one of the most diverse in the city’s history, to tackle issues that affect Black residents head-on. Council member Jalin Sead also emphasized that Black history was more than just highlighting struggles. “If you look at it in its totality, it is really beautiful, especially here in America—it is tragic, a lot of bad things but where we come from and where we are today and there is beauty in the struggle. And I think it’s something to be celebrated.”

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