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Norwalk’s Meadow Gardens to be demolished and redeveloped

Norwalk Housing Authority’s Meadow Gardens is in “desperate need of redevelopment,” which is why the Authority plans to demolish the 54 units on site and replace them with 56 new units.

The Norwalk Planning and Zoning Commission voted unanimously to approve the new plans for the site at its meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 1. 

“Meadow Gardens was built over 50 years ago. It is not in great condition and the people who live there, quite frankly, deserve better,” Lisa Endo, head of development for Sound Communities, an affiliate of the Norwalk Housing Authority, said to the Commission. “First and foremost, we are doing this to improve the quality of life of our tenants. There are 81 children who live at Meadow Gardens today, so this is a family development. But this is also about ensuring that we maintain these very low-income units in South Norwalk where we’ve seen a lot of market-rate development.” 

A current tenant of Meadow Gardens also addressed the Commission asking them to support the project.

“I have lived at Meadow Gardens for five years,” she said. “I think it’s a very good idea to fix the Meadow Gardens apartments because right now their conditions are very bad. The plans they showed us in the meeting look very beautiful.”

The plans call for demolishing the existing structures and redeveloping the site with nine new residential structures that contain 56 new units, two more than the number that exist today, according to attorney Liz Suchy, who was representing the Authority. 

Suchy stated that all units will be affordable and the breakdown is: four one bedrooms, 15 two bedrooms, 30 three bedrooms, and seven four bedrooms. 

It would also include an increase in parking, which Suchy noted was a challenge at the site, and a community center, which will include a learning center, multipurpose room, and gymnasium for use by the tenants at the site. 

The learning center will house space for tutoring and other activities, as well as after school programming and a potential summer camp. The gymnasium will include exercise equipment for the tenants, which Suchy noted was a priority. 

There will also be a “green corridor” which runs through the property, allowing for walking paths and recreation areas for those who live onsite. 

Adam Palmer, the site’s architect, said that they were hoping the development would “bring a more lively sense of community” for residents. The plans call for nine individual buildings to help fit in with the surrounding neighborhoods, he said, and so that way each resident could have their own entrance. 

“We didn’t want to come in with a massive five-story building that will really feel out of place,” he said. 

He also noted that they were “raising the ground floor level for the residential units along Meadow Street to get them up and out of the flood plain.” 

So far, Endo said that they will be using housing vouchers to relocate tenants while the construction takes place. So far, about 25% of residents have been moved offsite or have a relocation spot set up. 

Overall, the cost of the project is $42 million, Adam Bovilsky, director of the Norwalk Housing Authority said. 

“Every tenant has a right to return,” he said.

The vouchers provide a subsidy of about $1,400 a month so this will help the Authority not only “provide brand new beautiful housing, but maintain it at a much higher level,” he said. 

Endo said that they’re hoping to relocate all the tenants by the start of summer 2024 and then begin construction later that summer. The construction timeline is about 18 months, she said. 

Kelly Prinz, formerly Kelly Kultys, is the founder of Coastal Connecticut Times.

Comments

4 responses to “Norwalk’s Meadow Gardens to be demolished and redeveloped”

  1. Alma Lyons

    This is Great News! Now we have to tear down and rebuild rat-infested Samuel Roodner Court housing projects and all of our projects will be 21st Century living. Let’s continue to move Norwalk Forward with Safe, Decent and Affordable Housing!

  2. David Muccigrosso

    Most apartment-complex-based gymnasiums kind of suck. It’s a waste of valuable space.

    If we can’t just rezone to allow for free-market businesses like gyms to pop up and thrive, then the government should just build one good neighborhood gym instead of wasting space in every other apartment complex on tiny crappy gyms.

  3. Paul Vinett

    It seems to me that the cost $750,000 per apartment is a hefty price to pay for demolition and replacement. It may be Federal and State money, but it’s tax dollars, people’s money. Not free money. And to rebuild in a flood zone and across from recycling and garbage transfer for that price? Ludicrous. Stupid. People deserve a better place to live for that price tag. And why does a subsidized apartment unit cost more to build than a building lot and free standing house?

  4. Bryan Meek

    @Paul. It’s all about ribbon cutting ceremonies. It will be $1 million per unit before they are done. The public construction industrial complex has to feed and Norwalk is its trough willingly handed over to them by our local and state leaders for some political contributions. Forget about the poor people who are going to be evicted from there never to return like happened in Washington Village. We have council people who don’t just talk the talk, they walk the walk and even live in one of the places where poor old ladies and families were given the boot.

    The median condominium price is $360,000. If they really cared about the poor, they could buy double the homes of what this will cost, but it’s not really about that.

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