NORWALK, Conn. – Something needs to be done to improve East Avenue, both Mayor Richard Moccia and former Norwalk Police Chief Harry Rilling said, in reference to the state’s efforts to take at least two Norwalk properties through the eminent domain process.
The thoughts were expressed at the recent candidates forum held in the East Norwalk Library. Diane Cece of the Eastern Norwalk Neighborhood Association asked the two men what they thought of eminent domain, as Michael Napoleone, whose house at 220 East Ave., is one of the properties to be taken in the East Avenue widening project, sat next to her.
It took Cece a little while to get to the point.
“One of the most controversial projects that has come up of late in our neck of the woods here is the looming widening and lowering of East Avenue,” she said. “… As you guys know, the primary purpose of the widening is to lower the road and widen it so that more traffic can come through and trucks can come through the overpass, etc. Initially in the project there were just slivers of land that might be taken to try to accommodate it when they improved the overall design, but then suddenly it became an eminent domain situation with the state to take property.”
She went on to ask their opinion, and said, “What you would do to fight eminent domain of private property within the city of Norwalk?”
The candidates had one minute to reply.
Rilling spoke of the process, and said, “I’m not personally in favor of eminent domain.”
But his daughter was involved in a serious accident on the “nightmare” of East Avenue, he said. “Something needs to be done there,” he said.
Moccia refuted some of the premise of the question.
“Metro-North is going to change that bridge and they’re Metro-North so there’s nothing we can do about that,” Moccia said.
Moccia said the state doesn’t have the money for the project. In spite of that assertion, however, the Connecticut Department of Transportation is moving ahead with the property-taking process.
Moccia also defended the project against critics, saying, “I don’t know why more traffic would drive on East Avenue because we have a wider road.”
Leave a Reply
You must Register or Login to post a comment.