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Norwalk celebrates Cedar Street’s new efficiency, appeal

NORWALK, Conn. – Jazz music accompanied the celebration of a Norwalk neighborhood Saturday as the ribbon was cut on a project that was more than a decade in the making.

Golden Hill Association leaders Jim Delgreco and Jim Clark were both named on a plaque honoring them for the many hours they put into making the redesign of Cedar Street happen, following the ceremonial fun, which featured the three mayors who have helped make it happen.

Jim Clark v
Jim Clark performs Saturday on Cedar Street.

“In a couple of years this area is going to be just rocking,” Clark said.

The brick crosswalks, new sidewalks, new street lights and four-way stop sign at the Fairfield Avenue intersection are just the most visible parts of the project.  There are rainwater gardens with a stormwater collection system and the sidewalks are pervious, allowing water to go through them, Mike Mushak said. The lights are LED, he said.

“This is state of the art,” Mushak said. “…This is a model for sustainable design for Norwalk.”

Mayor Harry Rilling said the project should be a model for the entire country.

Delgreco said safety was a primary concern, and the intersection of Cedar Street and Connecticut Avenue was also redesigned, so that Cedar Street lined up with Ferris Avenue.

“This is an absolute huge success for the whole neighborhood and, I also feel, for South Norwalk,” Delgreco said. “Having the firehouse redone, having the three bridges redone, having sidewalks – you can walk now on Route 1 from Stop and Shop, on sidewalks that you’re not going to get run over, all the way down to the train station and that was part of what we wanted. Safe, walkable streets that people didn’t have to use their cars.”

The project began under Mayor Alex Knopp 11 years ago, Clark said.

“There are a lot of big development projects going on in Norwalk,” Knopp said. “They all seem to get a lot of attention, on Wall Street, on West Avenue and the SoNo area, but neighborhoods need support too. It’s the bodegas, the dry cleaning stores, the pizzerias, all of the shops, the small business that make up the neighborhood that deserve support. That’s why we work so hard to make this happen.”

Clark said former Mayor Richard Moccia was also very supportive of the project. He also thanked Planning and Zoning Director Mike Greene for his help in forming a Village District, an integral part of getting the project going.

Clark said the improvements are just Phase One of the Cedar Street redevelopment. Phase Two will involve updating the building facades, he said.

DelGreco said the idea is to bring more density to the street. Buildings, as they are redeveloped, will be made closer to the street with the idea of having retail and restaurants on the ground level and residences above, he said.

“This was a very long time coming, a lot of early mornings and late nights,” Delgreco said. “I do have to thank a lot of people. I can’t even name the people but definitely everyone.”

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From left.
From left, Jim Clark, former Mayor Alex Knopp, Mayor Harry Rilling, former Mayor Richard Moccia and Sen. Richard Blumenthal cut a ribbon Saturday on Cedar Street.

Comments

One response to “Norwalk celebrates Cedar Street’s new efficiency, appeal”

  1. Mike Mushak

    Thank you, Nancy on Norwalk, for wonderful coverage and and a great video. It was a remarkable day for everyone present, for our neighborhood, for all the businesses on Cedar Street, (most of which are minority owned or operated and struggled with years of disruption), and for Norwalk in general which will benefit from the new sustainable materials and technology used here for the first tim in our city.
    .
    It took 11 years of hard work by volunteers, merchants, and city staff including 3 mayors to make this day happen. Special shout outs to Mayor Knopp for having the vision, Mayor Moccia for funding it, Mayor Rilling for his patience during unforeseen delays, and the DPW staff and Deering Construction for working so hard under extremely difficult circumstances, like the worst winter in 30 years and 100-year-old infrastructure under the street that presented more than a few surprises.

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