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Norwalk photos: Town green

(Harold F. Cobin)

NORWALK, Conn. — The late former Norwalk Mayor Frank Zullo has been memorialized with a rose garden on the town green. Extensive shrubbery and updated walkways surround the bandstand, and there’s a new fountain.

The work was done by the First Taxing District. Zullo served as First Taxing District Board of Directors Chairman for many years.

(Harold F. Cobin)

(Harold F. Cobin)

(Harold F. Cobin)

16 comments

Mitch Adis July 23, 2020 at 6:56 am

From my experience, Frank Zullo, former Mayor of Norwalk had no respect for the town he once led. This for sure in his later years. On 9/11/2013 at the Norwalk Inn Conference Center, I personally witnessed him say “Norwalk is a sh*t hole, and you should be happy BJ’s wants to build here”. He said this when addressing abutting residents about the proposed Main Ave project. That is a moment I will never forget and how I remember Frank Zullo. Still we honor him. I guess we all become Saints when we die. RIP Frank.

King Donna July 23, 2020 at 10:36 am

I drive by every day and wondered what was being built. It is a beautiful and fitting tribute to a man who gave so much to this City. “God Bless”. We miss you Frank.

Scott July 23, 2020 at 1:47 pm

Sad to see we are squandering tax dollars on dead people…..while the schools and teachers have to beg for funding.

Pathetic

Dog owner July 23, 2020 at 4:51 pm

How about naming something there for the late Tim Currie, whose family has owned a local business in Norwalk for almost 100 years.
Tim did all these free concerts for Norwalk, and sadly died right on that Pavilion during a performance last year.

East Ave Resident July 23, 2020 at 6:24 pm

@Scott agreed! 200k & we can barely get to the green without being hit by cars flying down the road – no crosswalks anywhere near the bottom of the green. Could’ve put a few dollars toward making the memorial pedestrian-friendly so we could go see it without getting run over.

Norwalk Green Church Member July 23, 2020 at 7:23 pm

A lot of people think the area around the Green once had some of the best properties in town. We had some of the most popular churches too, nice buildings, doctor’s offices but locals were able to use the Norwalk Green for craft fairs and other small events – it felt like a community, especially on the weekends. 
 
Then we had the 2008 meltdown and we ended up with abandoned buildings in the center of Norwalk! It’s a lot better around now but Wall Street is still an embarrassment to anyone who calls Norwalk home.  
 
Now, in the midst of the biggest crisis in history all of the local taxpayer money gets spent on a Rose Garden on the Norwalk Green? 
 
Who is responsible for these decisions? 
 
Is the City changing the policy / signs so people are allowed on the Green again? Why can’t it be used like every other park in every City?
 
I’m sorry but is this stupid, complete waste of money Rose Garden thing going to be for everyone? I know the Churches can use it but it doesn’t matter because I don’t think anyone can actually go there because there isn’t any parking around it. Maybe we can add some parking spaces on East Avenue?
 
What a waste of money for something no one can use or even look at except out a car window. I would go there with my kids but I’m just going to get run over on the street. Why don’t they give the money back to the community and to causes that need it? This is infuriating and wrong. Who is the Council people in charge?

Long Time Dem July 23, 2020 at 7:23 pm

Scott: For what it’s worth, the First Taxing District does not operate on tax dollars, and has no part in funding the schools.

Mitch Adis: I would be surprised if Frank Zullo actually said what you quote, but I won’t argue that he didn’t since I was not there, and you were.

That said, Frank, for all his complexities, did have an abiding love for his home town. It’s not uncommon for us natives to talk down the town from time to time, as we are often frustrated by how a place with such wonderful qualities too often fails to rise to its true potential. Surely every one of us can be forgiven an intemperate comment from time to time.

None of us is perfect, but Frank was a good man, who loved Norwalk. The fact that we can remember him with a garden of roses is fitting, because every rose has its thorns.

Familiar with the matter July 24, 2020 at 10:53 am

Shame on you First Taxing District Water Dept. and the City of Norwalk 
 
$250,000 on a Rose Garden? This is a monument to yourselves, the Commissioners and all those that support you as you perpetuate your privilege of exclusivity and elitism vs the community.  
 
It’s a good thing you didn’t put up a statue because I’m sure if people really knew how much you could be doing for the community vs your consistent opting to do the bare minimum – they would tear it down.
 
Take a page out of your cousin’s playbook (Third Taxing District, 06855). TTD truly embraces the local community, promotes businesses and local events – they also generously contribute directly to charitable organizations.
 
I urge EVERYONE – look up how much TTD gave to charities in 2019 – $250,000!
 
The TTD is hosting SIX Summer Concerts in 2020 and has MONTHLY Tree Lightings to recognize Causes vs. FTD is hosting ZERO concerts in 2020 and maybe a truly pathetic, poorly organized and exclusive (due to minimal effort to communicate with the community) Tree Lighting in December. 

FTD Embrace Community? NOTHING.
Yes, I’m quite aware of how you treat all of the local people that are trying to help the Churches, businesses, improve the area… it’s high time you changed or maybe we’ll just get organized, expose your mishandling, negligible efforts to engage and support causes and, vote you out.
 
Your water rights monopoly entitles you to nothing more than providing water, but it obligates you to do a lot more than just cut the grass and prune the trees. 
 
In the meantime, leave the cyclone fencing up around the Rose Garden, update and add some nice new signs to explain to people how unwelcome they are. We all know you’d surround the entire Norwalk Green in fencing if you could, “look, don’t touch” – we all get the message. It’s the easy way to do your job – selfishly opt to do the bare minimum.
FTD should be comprised of commissioners who will eagerly engage with the area and play an active role in improving our community, clearly not the what we’re seeing from the current members.

“Attractive Nuisance” July 24, 2020 at 11:09 am

I’ve worked in insurance for 20+ years and have been watching the Norwalk Green crosswalk debate (and a few others) for a long time – I’m surprised that no one has played this card yet.

A long-standing “grandfathered in” gazebo is one thing, but a new large scale, beautiful Memorial Rose Garden is a far more significant example of an “attractive nuisance”. It is meant to attract the public and thus serves to draw people (implied hazard) to the Green from all directions without any legitimate safe passage. 
 
In fact, one could additionally argue that all of the walkways within the Green serve as thoroughfares, encourage people (notably, children and the elderly) to walk *through* the park area as opposed to walk around it. Curb cuts on East Avenue and at other corners also would support this hypothesis and stance. 

With the First Taxing District’s new Rose Garden feature, perhaps the best solution to making the Town Green Park more accessible and safe would be the addition of 1.) parking on East Ave, St. Paul’s Place and Park Street, 2.) several crosswalks on East Avenue and Park Street with rapid flashing beacons, 3.) a traffic light for those of us exiting the Bettswood neighborhood that would also periodically stop traffic in the most dangerous section of the entire area. 

Shari Brennan July 24, 2020 at 12:41 pm

The Town Green looks beautiful. My friend and I actually spent a wonderful afternoon sitting in our lawn chairs on one of the days the beach was closed for overcrowding The new improvements are a welcoming sight to those passing to and from the highway. It’s a wonderful uplift to spirits during these stressful times. Yes to adding a memorial to Tim Curry. Don’t know anything about Frank Zullo, but folks please stop being so negitave. Stop whining and complaining.
Thank you Tax District.

Bradford P. Craighead July 24, 2020 at 9:16 pm

At the center of one of Norwalk’s quintessential, iconic Neighborhoods, the Green is an oasis of natural beauty and the Memorial Rose Garden certainly enhances this unique urban park.

However, without sufficient, safe crosswalks around all of the Green, it is effectively inaccessible for pedestrians and unfortunately its owner, The First Taxing District, is at odds with the very community that wants both to preserve it and to promote it as walkable open space.

Other comments have accurately highlighted the FTD’s approach towards building community. Rather than “giving back” (through the support of local non-profits, promotion of small businesses, sponsorship of events and facilitating safe access via crosswalks), the FTD summarily rejects overtures from the members of the community and in effect does little more than allocate a portion of the Public’s water bill revenue to maintains its parks.

While the Memorial Rose Garden has the potential to be a thoroughly enjoyed addition to the Green, it demonstrates how entirely out of touch its leadership is from what the local Community really needs and wants – an engaged municipality that partners with the Neighborhood and leads by example.

We can only hope and pray that the FTD will seize the opportunity that the 2020 pandemic has delivered to us all and commit to the kind of social change that benefits all of Norwalk.

Bradford P. Craighead

BOB GIOLITTO July 25, 2020 at 10:51 am

Dear “Long Time Dem,” So why is it called the First TAXING District?

You are correct, however, in that they do not tax. But if they have $250,000 to spend on a rose garden that pedestrians cannot access, I’m thinking they are overcharging me for my water. And the arrogance of spending that kind of money for their own self-praise when so many are in need (Could it have been used to purchase PPE for hospital workers? School supplies for teachers who pay from their own pockets? Donations to food pantries?) is abhorrent.

This past fall one of the churches on the green proposed to the commissioners of the FTD that we get the churches together at the tree lighting and provide cookies, hot chocolate, coffee, and have the combined choirs sing carols, just to enhance the experience. We received a terse reply that we needed a permit to hold an event on the green. We wanted to join the FTD’s event–shame on us!

Perhaps there should be signs posted around the green:
“KEEP OFF! RESERVED FOR THE COMMISSIONERS OF THE FIRST TAXING (which doesn’t tax) DISTRICT!”

Patty July 25, 2020 at 9:54 pm

The green is quite lovely! I too agree we need the crosswalks. Morgan, Bettswood, green to the church and green to Wall Street. Crosswalks alone will signal “All Welcome Here” Flanked by two magnificent churches what better message to put out. Benches – maybe donation with plaques for loved ones. Organize Tai-chi or yoga classes on the green where social distancing is achievable. Sign up for story time for our littles – with ice cream. Let’s turn it to the community and create beautiful memories. Permits should be made easy to attain and not bureaucratic nonsense I am sure the city wants what is best for the community – a place of respite.

Foulque Nerra July 26, 2020 at 6:52 pm

I am so very, very confused about this garden. I THINK that people are saying it is so very nice, but that no one can get there because there are no crosswalks. Boy, do I know how they feel. On Saturday I visited the rose garden there, and I parked my car right in front of the garden on Park Street. Across Park Street I saw this really neat Farmer’s Market, and I wanted to go buy some veggies. But I knew from everyone’s comments how dangerous crossing THAT street can be, so I didn’t take my chances. No crosswalk, no crossing for me!

And is it true that the First Taxing District wants to build a fence around the Green to keep out Christmas carolers, yoga people and kids going to story hour with ice cream? If it is, that’s outrageous!

I’m even more confused about the First Taxing District. Why is it the First? Does that mean it’s the best? Or did they just ask first? I also couldn’t figure out why they are a Taxing District if they don’t collect taxes, but I figured THAT one out. According to the dictionary, “taxing” also means “onerous” and “wearing”, so I think they are trying to tell us that being a Commissioner is “onerous” and “wearing”. Who would want THAT job? Not ME!!!

And what about this Zullo guy? I read in the other article that he was this great guy who started a sailing school that everyone wants to save. But in this one someone says he used bad words talking about Norwalk! I don’t know WHAT to think!!!

The last thing I can’t figure out is why only some of the people are as upset as I am that the First Taxing District doesn’t give its money to charity. I know that they have to run a water department, and I know that they have to take care of the Green and the other parks they’re responsible for. But why do they have to spend actual MONEY on the parks that they could give that money away instead??? Especially when it’s money to build a garden that is so pretty and so cool that people are going to risk their lives crossing the street to get there!!!

I mean, it’s not like the First District has a dedicated Parks Fund or anything like that…

Mitch Adis July 27, 2020 at 12:34 pm

Gotta love the “Sidewalks to nowhere”. Some just end in the street. No crosswalk! You can’t make this stuff up.

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