Norwalk briefs: Building revamp, Mayor’s Ball proceeds, and new first responders

A rendering of 25 Van Zant St., in East Norwalk. (Contributed)

Updated, 10:11 a.m.: Clarification regarding Mayor’s Ball proceeds.

NORWALK, Conn. – Some news announcements for you:

  • Baum unveils new plans for 25 Van Zant
  • Rilling delivers $50K in Mayor’s Ball checks
  • New firefighters sworn in
  • UConn cop sworn in as NPD officer


Baum promotes new ideas for historic building

East Norwalk real estate developer Winthrop Baum “is taking steps to transform his 265,000 square-foot commercial property at 25 Van Zant Street into a state-of-the-art ‘IoT’ smart building,” according to a Thursday press release.

“The internet of things, or IoT, is a system of interrelated computing devices, mechanical and digital machines, objects, animals or people that are provided with unique identifiers (UIDs) and the ability to transfer data over a network without requiring human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction,” IOT agenda explains.

“{L}eading technology companies including GE, Samsung, Microsoft, Intel and Siemens are in discussions to showcase 5G, citizen broadband radio service, multi-gigabit and microwave gigabit technologies throughout the building. The building will provide its tenants tomorrow’s technology to enhance corporate learning and workforce training,” the release said. “The anticipated ribbon cutting is the fourth quarter, 2019.”

“Our intent is to be an integral component in developing Connecticut’s viable, educated and dedicated workforce,” Baum is quoted as saying. “The nation relies on trained workforce-ready personnel who are driven to become part of our growing economy. This will be a huge advantage to trade schools and companies that domicile in our future-proof building.”

Interested parties can call Paulo Barros at 203-273-3367 or email him at [email protected], or contact Fritz Chery at 203-940-0386 or via [email protected]

Before the revamp, Baum also pioneered an urban farm in part of the building which he unveiled publicly in the fall. Baum in November said he and his team were developing “cutting edge” techniques to offer hydroponic lettuce, basil, arugula and bok choi to Norwalk residents and businesses.

A farmer’s market will “probably be running by this summer,” publicist Skye Riss said Thursday.  “Win also found someone to help him grow mushrooms.”



Mayor’s Ball recipients receive checks 

Mayor Harry Rilling on Thursday presented two donations of $25,000 each to the Norwalk Domestic Violence Crisis Center and Literacy Volunteers, the two nonprofits that were selected as the beneficiaries of the 2019 Mayor’s Community Ball, a press release said.

“The Mayor’s Ball is an annual nonpartisan, nonpolitical event that brings people together. The money raised was unprecedented and is going to some great organizations that are doing critical work in the community,” Rilling is quoted as saying. “Thank you to all of the sponsors and guests who helped us raise this record amount of money. The community gave back, and I know these funds will impact thousands of people.”

“The Norwalk Domestic Violence Crisis Center (DVCC) serves the towns of Norwalk, Stamford, New Canaan, Darien, Westport, Weston and Wilton with representation behind the bench for victims in both Norwalk and Stamford courthouses starting at the arraignment,” according to the release. “In addition to legal advocacy, DVCC provides individual and group counseling for survivors and their children, sustainability, such as financial education, credit repair, job and housing advocacy, as well as two safe houses each sleeping 15 people per night, and preventive education in schools and youth groups, hospitals, medical practices and private businesses. DVCC is committed to providing services, support, and education for the prevention and elimination of domestic violence in Connecticut and beyond.”

“We are overwhelmed by this support,” Norwalk DVCC Board Chairman John B. Watkins is quoted as saying.

“Literacy Volunteers, a program of the Norwalk Public Library Foundation, teaches adults to read, write, speak and understand English so that they may achieve their personal, educational, employment and civic goals. Monthly, they serve approximately 450 students who hail from over thirty countries. Some students are well-educated and others have had little access to education; however, all share the same goals of wanting to improve their English to better their lives and become better advocates for themselves and their families,” the release said.

“These funds will go a long way to helping immigrants learn a new language and get acclimated to their new city,” Norwalk Public Library Assistant Director Sherelle Harris, who manages Literacy Volunteers, is quoted as saying. “With this money, we will be able to expand our programming to more people. We appreciate the support from the Mayor’s Office and Norwalk community.”

“These two organizations are full of people whose work and goodwill ultimately impact all of our lives by helping their clients understand they are not alone in whatever circumstances they may find themselves. It’s where hope becomes a reality,” Lucía Rilling is quoted as saying. “Thank you to the staff for working so hard on this event and to my husband Harry Rilling for helping make a positive impact. I applaud your collective and collaborative efforts.”

The 26th annual Mayor’s Ball was organized by a volunteer Committee led by Chairwoman Sally Johnson, Maritza Alvarado, Irene Dixon, Charles Hankerson, Helen Kanganis, Donna King, Laoise King, Rebecca Kovacs, Sheila Miller, Josh Morgan, Morgan Rochefort and the Rillings.




Fire Department promotions

Probationary Norwalk Firefighters Madeline Jankowski, Gregory Petriccione and John Pomponio. (Contributed)

The Norwalk Fire Department held a promotional and swearing in ceremony last week at Norwalk Fire Headquarters. Probationary Firefighters John Pomponio, Madeline Jankowski, and Gregory Petriccione were officially sworn into the Department and Firefighter Jesse Granton was promoted to Fire Inspector after eight years of service, according to a press release.

Fire Chief Geno Gatto, and Assistant Chief Chris King presided over the ceremony, while Mayor Harry Rilling and Pastor Oscar Destruge and Larry Bentley, both Fire Commissioners, read the oaths of their positions.



Curran joins police force

Kristen Curran joined the Norwalk Police force in late February.  She previously served for three years on the University of Connecticut Police Department.  “Officer Curran has a degree in finance from Fairfield University and has a brother who is a police officer in New York. Officer Curran will be assigned to the Patrol Division upon completion of the Field Training Program,” according to a statement.


Mike Mushak March 28, 2019 at 10:00 pm

All good news, especially the Mayor’s Ball checks to the non-profits. It was a fun party for two good causes!

Kevin Kane March 29, 2019 at 8:34 am

Milly, I thought the same thing. I attended the Ball some time ago then have considered the past 2 years but decided Stamford would be out of the running for me due to distance and well, it’s Stamford not Norwalk for a Norwalk celebration.

Dolce/Lakota Oaks looks like it seats 480: https://lakotaoaks.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/300-012-PDF-rebranding-banquetRoom.pdf

Also a great option as it has 120 hotel rooms.

580 in 2017, 350 in 2018, not sure on 2019 so something tells me maybe it is costs/proceeds they can clear.

Would be interesting to see the numbers because in 2018, they raised $25,000, 2017 was $50k, 2019 was $25k

Bob Welsh March 29, 2019 at 10:31 am

City Clerk Donna King, who is part of the volunteer committee which organizes the Mayor’s Ball, describes the proceeds as follows:

“The net proceeds were approximately $60,000. $25,000 was given to each charity for a total of $50,000 donated. The balance is retained by the 501c3. It is retained as seed money for next year’s event as well as some smaller donations that are used for other charitable uses.”

A clarification has been added above.

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