Norwalk Housing Authority waits … and waits …

The glorious plan for Washington Village.

NORWALK, Conn. – No news is good news – unless you are waiting to hear if Norwalk will be the recipient of a $30 million Choice Neighborhoods grant. If you’ve been holding your breath, you’re blue by now.

The Norwalk Housing Authority’s plan to raze Washington Village and construct a mixed use development, with a public housing component, was named in March as one of six finalists for the whopper of a grant handed out by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). NHA Deputy Director Candace Mayer said at the time that she expected HUD to announce a decision in May or early June.

“We’ve been calling around and no one seems to have any idea of when they are going to make an announcement,” NHA Executive Director Curtis Law said Wednesday. “I am hopeful and optimistic that we are going to get it but there’s been no official word.”

The reason, he suspects, is a change in leadership. On May 23, President Barack Obama announced his intention to shift HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan to the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Obama nominated San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro to be the new HUD director. Castro was interviewed by a Senate panel Tuesday. Donovan was interviewed last week.

So – things are in flux.

“We are thinking that may delay things,” Law said.

NHA’s proposal for Washington Village was developed in conjunction with Trinity Financial. The proposal was one of 44 applicants for a $30 million grant, which would be spent over five years.

The authority is “absolutely” optimistic about getting the grant, Mayer said in April. But the project will go ahead either way, as financing has been secured for Phase I, which current residents of Washington Village should be able to move into by fall of 2016, Mayer said.


9 responses to “Norwalk Housing Authority waits … and waits …”

  1. Mary

    Building in a flood zone may not be an ideal proposal to the feds. The grant probably wont come through, hope it does but if the initial financing is secured, whats the hold up? Where are the residents going to be relocated in the interim? Is the design still going with street level or slightly below grade parking? If so what is being done exactly to mitigate the regular flooding?

  2. cc-rider

    The flood insurance renewal for our condo building on Water Street just doubled. Part of the building was found to be under sea level. The rate went up by tens of thousands of dollars.

  3. One and Done.

    These poor people need covered air conditioned off street parking asap. It isn’t fair that they have to park their $50,000 cars out on Water St. I feel especially bad for those who own the Mercedez and the Landrover.
    Seriously, can someone explain to me why people with rent subsidies have enough cash to buy late model cars? I’m not making this up, you can see for yourself every time you go down Water St. It’s nauseating.

  4. @Mary
    The residents will not be relocated. They’re building Phase I in what is now a vacant lot. When Phase I is complete the residents will move into it and Washington Village will be demolished.
    That is what I am told.
    The design approved by the Zoning Commission was for parking slightly undergrade, under the building. There was no plan for flood mitigation. The idea was that people would have warning when there might be flooding and be able to move their vehicles.
    @One and Done
    I do not recall hearing that the partially underground parking is air conditioned. As I recall there was talk about mesh over openings, which would allow vines to grow. I don’t believe it is enclosed as you describe but I will look into it.

  5. Tony P

    I think this project will definitely help SoNo, coupled with the Pearl and IronWorks, it will put people downtown and should help to support businesses down there. I would also hope that flood mitigation would be included. Completely off topic, was wondering where another big project on the other side of the Norwalk River was doing – the East Avenue project. I was stuck in traffic getting home to Cottage St and realized I haven’t heard a peep about it.

  6. Ms. ACA

    One and Done,
    Anyone can park on Water Street. The residents have parking within the complex. Perhaps the the late model cars that you see belong to the boat owners who peruse the boat companies across the street. Or perhaps they are visiting tenants in Washington Village.

  7. Debora

    Tony P,
    Plans are available in the engineers office of Public Works. State says 2016. Eminent Domain on the 3 houses adjacent to the railway bridge is proceeding. You will hear more about it very soon.

  8. Tony P

    Debra, thank you for your response!

  9. One and Done.

    Ms. ACA. Nope. The boat shops have enough parking. Washington Village doesn’t have enough parking for all the squatters there. They even park at the boat shops and the owners are afraid to complain because they fear after hours vandalism. Public housing is a total failure and a permanent blight on society. Co-locating hard up people with felons and derelicts has been a recipe for disaster. Hard working taxpayers shouldn’t have to subsidize people scamming the system.

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