Norwalk political notes: NHA, Simms and Himes

Soundview Landing, the replacement for Washington Village. Could Meadow Gardens be next?

NORWALK, Conn. — Some Norwalk political notes for you:

  • Bovilsky: Meadow Gardens will be rebuilt
  • Simms interrupts Zoom commentary with F-bomb
  • Himes appointed ranking member on Intelligence Committee

NHA looks to rebuild Meadow Gardens

Meadow Gardens, a low-income housing complex in South Norwalk, would be demolished and rebuilt in a move being made by the Norwalk Housing Authority.

The plan is “not fully developed yet,” NHA Executive Director Adam Bovilsky said Monday. “The conditions of Meadow Gardens are terrible. It’s not OK. And our plan is going to be to tear it down with something called Section 18 demolition disposition, which is a HUD (U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development) program where we can get vouchers for every unit that’s there.”

NHA has a recent track record for replacing longstanding public housing, as the ancient Washington Village has been demolished and replaced with Soundview Landing.  NHA is also renovating Colonial Village.

An application is expected to be submitted to HUD on or about Feb. 10, requesting the release of 54 tenant vouchers and $250,000 from the Capital Fund Program and Public Housing Operating Fund.

NHA Board of Commissioners meeting minutes show the matter was discussed publicly in June and August. Environmental Review Records (ERRs) are on file at NHA’s 24 Monroe St. offices and the Board invites public comments, which could be submitted by email to [email protected] A public hearing is planned for 3 p.m. Feb. 10; contact Lisa Endo at [email protected] or by phone at 203-810-5625 at least 24 hours in advance.

NHA believes it will qualify for the HUD program, Bovilsky said Monday.

“Meadow Gardens is going to need to be rebuilt somewhere. There are a variety of options that we may be looking at. And we’re always open to an exchange of property if such a thing made sense for our residents,” he said.

In a follow-up email, Bovilsky said the vouchers would provide Meadow Gardens residents with housing while the project is rebuilt and they would then have the option to move into the replacement development.

“It is possible the new MG will be purely low-income housing (likely if we build on the current footprint of MG) or if we can utilize additional space at another location, the preference would be a mixed income development, perhaps not unlike Soundview Landing,” he wrote.

An unfortunate Internet occurence

Dogs, cats and children have become regular guests in City of Norwalk meetings held online only or as hybrid events and it’s common for an attendee to be asked to go on mute due to unwanted or unexpected noise.

But a recent hybrid General Assembly meeting outdid all of that when State Rep. Travis Simms (D-140) was caught using the worst swear words possible, calling someone a “f—- a—-.”

(Perhaps he was driving?)

The moment was memorialized by Kevin Rennie on his blog Daily Ructions, a 19-second video you can find here.

Connecticut Department of Transportation (ConnDOT) Commissioner Garrett Eucalitto was just beginning to answer a question when Simms let it fly. The curse words were followed by a brief pause, then a quip by State Sen. Tony Hwang (R-28), “Welcome to the world of Zoom.”

Simms did not reply to a Wednesday email from NancyOnNorwalk.

Ken Dixon of Hearst Media quotes Simms as apologizing and conveying “my utmost respect for my Transportation Committee colleagues, chairs, ranking members, and constituents. My comment was not directed at anybody, especially Transportation Commissioner Eucalitto, whom I hold in high esteem for his steadfast dedication to improving our state’s quality of life and roadway infrastructure.”


U.S. Rep. Jim Himes (D-Greenwich) was named Ranking Member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, which oversees the nation’s intelligence agencies and activities, including components of the Departments of Defense, Homeland Security, Justice, State, Treasury and Energy, a news release said. Himes has been on the Committee since being appointed by then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi in 2013.

“The threats against our nation are fast evolving, and it is critical that the Intelligence Community keep pace,” Himes said in the release. “… I am grateful to Leader (Hakeem) Jeffries for entrusting me with this role, and to outgoing Chairman Adam Schiff for his leadership over the past eight years. During my tenure on the committee, I have also been lucky to develop a strong relationship with Chairman Mike Turner, and I look forward to continued collaboration in our shared, bipartisan mission.”

“Congressman Himes has proved a measured and vital voice in protecting the American people and protecting their civil liberties,” Jeffries said in the release. “With global tensions rising, his years of experience, thoughtful leadership and unwavering dedication to our national security equip him well to lead Democrats on this critical committee.”

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Alma Lyons February 2, 2023 at 7:05 am

Kudos to NHA for its plans to Demolish Meadows Gardens. Hopefully Samuel Roodner Court is a close 2nd.

That complex is infested with mice. People have cats to combat the mice problem and when you walk in some of the buildings the smell of feline urine hits you in the face.

Several people I know are laying out mouse glue traps on the regular, catching 5 and 6 mice a day.

Very sad, especially for the children who have to live in those conditions.

Bryan Meek February 2, 2023 at 8:59 am

Congratulations to Mr. Himes. Years of fealty have paid off personally. But let’s not kid ourselves. This only happened after a decade plus of Adam Schiff leaking classified information for political gain and finally being held to account for it. But I guess it’s a small win for CT. Not sure how it helps fix I95 or the Merritt which were just rated 2 of the top 5 worst congested highways in the country. Not sure how it helps $10 eggs. Maybe he’ll get us relief for Taylor Swift tickets once he gets promoted to Blumenthal’s seat, given that is the Senators mission right now..

Bryan Meek February 2, 2023 at 9:35 am

Nothing says transparency in government like finding out about plans to relocate poor people 7 months after the plans were hatched. The NHA leads would be a good fit for the Intel Committee.

Lisa Brinton February 2, 2023 at 10:05 am

Nancy, Thank you for verifying what I heard about Meadow Gardens. Have also heard MG residents have been told they can come back. Right (lol) just like the little old ladies, who lived a lifetime in Norwalk were displaced at Washington Village.

Will these new ‘affordable’ or whatever apartments line the pockets of developers, with per unit construction costs that exceed the price of a condo like Sound Landings? And where, in a LWV debate, our esteemed state senator refused to answer why – with impunity.

When will good Democrats walk away from this fake sanctimonious administration? You gotta hand it to the mayor with his diversity, equity and inclusion mantra and 6 figure staff hirings, he’s managed to screw both the poor and middle classes in Norwalk behind closed doors, while keeping up the PR public ribbon cuttings. Btw, where was the common council on this? Did they even know?

It certainly explains the rush to rezone South Norwalk, the overpaid Hatch and Bailey property purchase , etc. So, which campaign donor is lined up? Clay Fowler? FD Rich? McClutchey?

The blatant disregard for government transparency and taking advantage of the poor is what happens when there is single party rule. Even from beloved folks with a D behind their name. Keep focusing on national politics Norwalk, while we get robbed by local officials.

Marjorie Madden February 2, 2023 at 10:53 am

Mr Sims uttered what he thought about the conversation . Sad indeed.
His deepest thoughts thinking it was a waste of time came out similar to what has happened to other politicians

Patrick Cooper February 2, 2023 at 3:43 pm

Norwalk is gullible, and foolish. Every year Harry fills his campaign coffers with blood money from the development & construction mafia, just as he has this year, and then turns a blind eye as they pillage the community with poorly “Stick Frame Over Podium” building—a model of cheap, expedient construction—which we now see everywhere. The lifespan is maybe 40 years, before it turns to mush. And the public (through taxes) pays them premium prices. Harry will be long dead before they turn into tear-down slums.

Speaking of Washington Village (now Sound View Landing) – the Day Street “re-development” – what used to be exclusively low income housing is now – not. Run by Winn Residential – a multi-billion dollar realty company with offices all over New England. It’s a “three-card Monty” game of “we care about the poor & the minority populations” speeches & pandering – like the recent activities – but it’s just cover for the massive gentrification that is happening to South Norwalk right before your eyes. And the so called leaders of these “communities” are playing along – which is a nice way of saying – they’ve sold out. Nobel of them. Some “Principals” have no principles.

It took a comment by Lisa Brinton to bring this MG activity to light. Rumors in Dis-B are often the only way anyone learns about anything this administration is doing. So when the un-elected Bovilsky (and accountable to exactly who?) mentions “the preference” would be mixed-income development – that’s means – it’s exactly what they are going to do. It’s 10% “affordable” and the spoils go to the campaign contributing developer, along with their cabal of lawyers, architects, builders, and so forth. Tax credits for building in a newly designated “enterprise zone”, and spot zoning approvals are all part of the game. Maybe some HUD bucks (tax-dollars) as a cherry on top. The poor get screwed, the rich get richer, and the middle class pays for it all.

This is happening all over America – in every single municipality that has been corrupted by the national political parties. Both guilty. Both have fingerprints on the weapons. In Norwalk – we have the sanctimonious D-party, and an R-party that has been gutted. It’s long past time to start naming names. It’s long past the time for “polite debate”. It’s time the Norwalk residents say – enough. It’s time for a complete reset of our local leadership. To start – Harry has to go.

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