Norwalk plows lot as ‘favor’ to SoNoCC

Ryan Park’s parking lot is snowed in on Feb. 8. The lot has been plowed by Norwalk Economic Opportunity Now (NEON). A NEON employee said that it couldn’t be plowed because a pickup truck had been repossessed.

NORWALK, Conn. – A city-owned bulldozer plowed a South Norwalk lot Friday, although it has not been on the list of parking lots plowed by the city.

The Department of Parks and Recreation bulldozer spent an hour cleaning the Ryan Park parking lot of snow, Director Mike Mocciae and Mayor Harry Rilling confirmed. The work has previously been done by Norwalk Economic Opportunity Now (NEON), Mocciae said.

It was done as a favor to the South Norwalk Community Center (SoNoCC) because there was an event scheduled, Mocciae said. Rilling said that event was a wedding, but didn’t know who got married.

“NEON is supposed to plow their lot and had a contract with someone for their services,” Mocciae wrote in an email. “No idea who their vendor was.  As I understand NEON still has an obligation to clear the space.   We plowed the lot because we had time on Friday since the school lots were not being plowed ’til the weekend by public works.  It took the Department an hour with a bucket loader to do the lot, with the one operator. Recreation and Parks do all school footpaths, 50-plus miles, as well as all the Parks.  Public works does not plow any of the City Parks.”

“It should have been done anyway,” Rilling said. “We should find a way to get that done. I know there’s no money to do it right now. We can’t leave that spot filled with snow and not gain access to the building. Anything we can do to get that lot cleared, we’re going to try to do.”


8 responses to “Norwalk plows lot as ‘favor’ to SoNoCC”

  1. Don’t Panic

    It is troubling that city resources are being used for private purposes. Spare time might have been better used clearing crosswalks that have been blocked by business owners who use heavy equipment to clear their lots, but do minimally compliant sidewalk clearance that ends in 4 foot high mounds of snow plowed by the city and the business owner.

    Without continuous access from property to property, the sidewalks are useless.

  2. Diane C2

    Isn’t that lot actually a part of Ryan Park?

  3. dlauricella

    My thought as well, DC2.
    The lot is owned by the City as part of the city-owned park. So this
    This winter has been brutal for city handle…and I can see why this lot may be on secondary list. Many cities officially close select parks and their plots in winter to save money.
    The agreement with NEON all these years made sense…but reliance on their abilities to manage promises to others now is a moist point.

  4. SoNoCC

    SoNoCC would like to thank Mike Mocciae, Director of Norwalk Recreation and Parks, and Mayor Rilling for their cooperation, not only in plowing the Ryan Park parking lot, but for their ongoing collaboration. For those of you who have not visited us at SoNoCC, the building takes up almost the entire lot. We have no parking on our property. Through our collaborative agreement with AmericaCares Free Health Clinic, more than 1,000 patients are seen here annually. From March through December, 2013, more than 4,600 clients were provided social services through SoNoCC. Yes, we are a non-governmental 501 (c) 3 organization. However, SoNoCC provides vital services to the community, with much more to come this year. Norwalk does not have a Department of Social Services and, with the implosion at NEON, we are here to serve the growing needs of the community at-large. Our volunteer management team provides these services without any government assistance, save a federal grant last year for badly needed renovations and to make our space ADA compliant. We do our best but, without public funding, the needs of our community remain under-served.

  5. lael

    This looks like a real abuse of power to me and I find this issue really troublesome. Our new mayor commandeered public resources for private use which I believe is an ethics violation and possibly illegal. Must admit I’m surprised that with so little time in office this mayor is wasting no time bending the rules for his personal purposes.

    This wasn’t done to help “the community” but for a PRIVATE WEDDING being held there. This is political payback for all that support during Rilling’s campaign pure and simple.

    DPW spends ONE HOUR clearing this lot at what cost to US?

    In the aftermath of that huge storm, there was still a LOT of other work for DPW to be doing for the City. Is the City getting reimbursed?

    Would the people on this board excusing this mayor’s misuse of City resources be supporting Moccia if he sent DPW workers to clear St. Mary’s parking lot for a private wedding? NO they would not! So let’s stop with the hypocrisy.

    City employees aren’t personal employees of this mayor to do his bidding. Our mayor needs to get this message now.

    Kudos to NON for reporting this story.

  6. SoNoCC

    With all due respect, get your facts straight. THIS IS A PUBLIC PARK’s parking lot and NOT a private lot!!!

  7. Inquiring Mind

    Interesting. IAL, I do have to agree with you that if this had happened under the previous administration, there would have been more negative comments on the story.
    However, having said that, I actually don’t have a problem with the lot being plowed by DPW even if it was for a wedding in the nearby building, formerly known as NEON. To me, it would be the same as the City plowing the lot at the Lockwood Mansion or the Gallaher Mansion for a wedding. I would like to think that if a wedding had been planned at either of the other two venues (which I believe have been winterized and are not open at this time) even if it hadn’t been formally scheduled by Parks and Rec, that the City would have gracious enough to plow the lot.
    While there had been a significant amount of upheaval and drama around one of the tenants of the 98 South Main St building, I think we have to be extremely careful not to cause more collateral damage to others than has already been done.
    Yes, we all pay taxes to the City, and yes, it is a City park. But are we, as city residents, so petty as to punish other organizations that occupy the same facility as one that has caused so much contention and strife?
    Yes, one can take on the mantle of self-righteousness and say, “As a taxpayer, I object because the time and the funding involved could have been put to better use by….” It’s easy to be technically correct and morally flawed.
    Bottom line, I don’t think the City should take any flak for doing this job. Maybe SNCC should find someone to donate the cost of the plowing or who is willing to plow the lot for free for the future. Just be aware that when one gets into legalism, the path often leads to zero tolerance all around.

  8. Mike Mushak

    As critical as I am of DPW (Hal mumbles my name at night in his nightmares no doubt), as far as lack of sidewalk snow clearing enforcement goes and wacky bike lanes on Strawberry Hill,and a few other things (!), I still have to give DPW three cheers for the efficient road plowing this year. I have been out after all the storms and am amazed at how much they do, and how much crap they have to take from people mad at them for plowing snow onto their sidewalks or around their cars (like, what are they supposed to do, melt the snow?). Also kudos to Mike Mocciae , for clearing walks and having to handle all the schools. That is no small feat in a snowy year like this. Thanks for all the hard work.
    And Ryan Park parking lot is public, so “lael” is just misinformed. Forgiven!

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