Rilling: Move along Norwalk development with smoother process

Norwalk 102613 008
Norwalk Democratic mayoral candidate Harry Riling shows off a newspaper from Oct. 20 1955 heralding possible development on Main and Wall Streets. That was four days after a destructive flood. Nothing has changed since then.

NORWALK, Conn. – Democratic mayoral candidate Harry Rilling took aim at another part of  incumbent Richard Moccia’s record Saturday, criticizing the lack of development in the city.

That’s nothing new, Rilling said, holding up a copy of The Hour from Oct. 20, 1955. “Re-developers want to expand program: Hope to include Main, Wall Street areas,” the headline said.

You know how that worked out.

The problem recently, Rilling said as he stood at the long-delayed 95/7 project, is obstructionist government – a developer told him this week, he said, that he had gotten everything in order in eight months in Bridgeport, but in Norwalk the same process took 3½ years. “Our Redevelopment Agency, our Planning and Zoning agencies, they have to work together, not against each other, in order to move things forward,” Rilling said. “… There is nothing happening because nobody is taking charge and making things happen. That has to change. Under a Rilling administration we will make sure that development projects move forward. We will tell developer that if your plan is no longer viable then maybe we need to think in other terms.”

There is a construction trailer and construction equipment at 95/7, where a 232-unit apartment building with about 24,000 feet of retail has been planned, giving the appearance that something might be happening. Although the developer pulled a permit for a foundation in August, there is no sign of any activity even with the window dressing of equipment sitting there. Instead, the Redevelopment Agency is reviewing an application to transfer development rights from 95/7 Enterprises to GGP (General Growth Properties), which builds malls.

RDA Director Tim Sheehan said this week that there is no guarantee that GGP will propose building a mall despite several early newspaper reports.

“There is no proposal from either the current developer or the proposed successor developer made to the agency that suggests any request to modify the development plan as currently approved by the city and contained in the existing LDA (Land Disposition Agreement),” he said in an email. “The range for retail square footage under the existing LDA is capped at 125,000 sq. ft.”

Rilling said the city needs to know what GGP has in mind before the RDA approves the transfer.

“A mall generally does not generate a good revenue stream in taxes,” he said. “They don’t pay taxes on their inventory. They pay taxes on their footprint. They bring in, again, part-time, low paying jobs, and in the Financial Times, there was a report recently that said that 15 percent of the nation’s malls will fail within the next five years. So before we move ahead with transfer of any development rights we really need to sit down, let the public know what the plans are going to be, before we move forward. It’s silly to move forward unless you know what the plans are that are going to be implemented.”

Rilling said the lack of progress in Norwalk’s stalled projects is costing citizens money, as there is no tax revenue. In addition, the grand list has shrunk from $12.8 billion in 2012 to $12.5 billion in 2013.

“We lost $300 million off our grand list because homeowners were fighting their tax assessments and it was found in case after case after case that their homes were assessed too high,” he said. “So they kept winning in case after case after case.”

Moccia did not return a request for comment.

The Rilling campaign put out a press release saying that Rilling will create a streamlined system where citizens and developers can get all the permits they need in one place on a regular basis.

“As mayor I will make sure City Hall has an easy to understand, friendly, and helpful process for obtaining permits for projects large and small,” Rilling said in the statement. “Everywhere I go I hear complaints about a confusing and unhelpful permit process that requires people to go to too many different places at too many different times. Whether building a deck on your house or redoing your bathroom or renovating an entire building, city hall needs to be a partner with the people of Norwalk.”



35 responses to “Rilling: Move along Norwalk development with smoother process”

  1. D(ysfunctional)TC

    Is he actually trying to scare this developer away? 15% of malls are probably not located on the last undeveloped stretch of I95 in the entire northeast corridor.
    The initial meetings for Waypoint kicked off in 1986. Here we are today building it finally. It is rhetoric and politicking like this that is the biggest impediment to development.
    I know he is a bit short on ideas and time here, but it might be more strategic to change your name to Rillingguez at this point.

  2. EDR

    Harry has just proven why he is not qualified to be mayor and just how little he understands about real estate development. Before he criticizes he should first look at the track record of certain folks that are part of his party and the role they played in slowing down 95/7. Second he needs to take a course in urban land economics. I am insulted as a taxpayer and finance professional that he can even obfuscate the facts. I read the same article and to compare that fact with the 95/7 site is insulting a political theater. If he really means that then he needs to defend his position in the debate on Tuesday.

  3. Better Norwalk

    Doesn’t Norwalk already have properties still waiting on tenants? Let’s just say Harry gets his way and some new “tech” center gets built. Normally, they want a tax break to begin with, otherwise why build here? Second, what tenant will fill this “other” development?

    A Mall will produce revenue, shoppers who normally do not frequent Norwalk will see what a wonderful city we have outside this mall. There are restaurants, specialty shops, Maritime Center etc.

    As for the permit process, I didn’t have a problem, so what’s he talking about?

    This just sounds like another Malloy Stamford city where big developers/companies wanted tax breaks.

    I would rather see people come into Norwalk, spend their money and have a good time than travel to other shopping areas.

    This is just another attempt at Harry grandstanding on something he knows nothing about and had poor advise.

    The more he opens his mouth, the more he looks foolish!

  4. Jlightfield

    There are indeed too many cooks in the kitchen when it comes to economic development in Norwalk. You have a convoluted process where the Common Council cedes control of development projects to the Redevelopment Agency, whose sole jurisdiction is a specific geographic footprint called the urban core. Yet the staff to the Council’s planning committee is the Executive Director of the Agency! The Agency then comes before the Council to approve its redevelopment plans. This process is a conflict of interest and convoluted.
    Norwalk’s zoning code is outdated. After decades of text amendments that carve out exceptions and provide contradicting guidelines every project seemingly requires extensive review. A rewrite following recommended land use policy and adoption of form based zoning along would go a long way towards streamlining zoning.
    But the biggest issue facing Norwalk’s development community is the endless attempts by developers to circumvent what the zoning code says simply because they know there is a reworked deal to be made. The political players who think that they are geniuses who can time the market better than real estate developers and undermine projects who meet requirements are a significant part of the problem.
    The lack of a certified traffic engineer in Public works, the lack of any architectural guidelines, the lack of implementation plans, the lack of any economic development plan or staff all contribute to the failures of execution and a fair playing field for all development.
    Our neighbors both large cities and small items have managed to implement the items I have touched on and the results are clear and obvious.

  5. Ark

    When Knopp came in 2001 all development stopped in this City for 4 years and it took Moccia several years to get things going again. Now that developments are moving again from drawing boards to construction and when 95/7 is about to be sold to major developer who wants to build Norwalk a world class mall, Harry wants to put the breaks on again. Insane.

    A Vote for Harry is a vote for no new development, no new jobs and higher taxes to pay for all his promises. Harry will make Norwalk into Bridgeport.

  6. Suzanne

    As I far as I know, no one has seen the likes of this “world class mall”. This is another developer who sees land upon which they can make money. How is Norwalk going to handle that?

    I agree with jlightfield that the process is convoluted and that the lack of PLANNING and certification of our “experts” and comprehensive regulations for the 21st Century are impeding Norwalk’s development progress.

    This is scattershot development – a mall here, an office there, oh yeah, and maybe some public housing over here. jlightfield has expressed perfectly what other towns in this area have done in order to have successful development and economic progress. It is nuts and bolts stuff that has not been taken up but rather resisted by this current administration.

  7. chris

    Thank you Ms Lightfield for your astute observations and points. And thank you for your service on the commission. Sorry that Moccia gave you such a hard time. Many, paying attention, hope that politics hasnt completely disllusioned you and that at some point, you will stand up to serve again. You did and continue to devote your time and expertise to help Norwalk be all it can be. Thank you, turf, you do make a difference and yes you too mb.

    Now, the as not yet purposed mall. Having, say a telecom company build, say a 40 story office building with some retail/restaurants on lower floors. Barring any deals made on tax subsidies, on paper, that may seem to bring the most revenue into the citys base. Why would some telcom locate here? Virgin came and flew the coop without so much as a goodbye thanks for the memories card. T
    Left the building sitting idle/empty and flooded, each winter when pipes break. There is an overabundence of available office space in this area and allot more is or will be soon coming on the market. Having a 40 story office complex might be the best revenue target but thats all it is, a target. A target that the market does not bear. Now a mall. Yes it is apparent that malls have seen there hey day, many anyway. The trend for consumere to purchase online is soaring with unlimted potential. That said, there is also a serious lack of entertainment venues. Some used to say that back when the billards hall and the drive in was still open on CT Ave. Both are long gone and Veterans stadium, in New Haven, has been built and torn down since than. Looking at what NY did on the west side is an interesting concept. The perception cant just be on revenue per sq footage of any location. Other long term factors need to be closley considered. What is lacking/needed in the community/area? What will be a good fit into the community/area? Mr. Rillling has stated he would like to engage and hear ideas and streamline process. That he would bring leadership. Well has to be better than what we have endured the last decade. He is right to be open to ideas and suggestions and to not let developers take advantage of elected officials. Back when the huge car dealership battle was underway, what was the time frame that development would begin once the properties were secured and demolished? Anyone remember? I seem to remember an Hour story that it would be 18 months when demolition was completed when construction would begin. What really happened is speculators saw an opportunity and stepped in and completely hoodwinked city government officials. It’s called the bait and switch routine. There are many variations of this scam. Congratulations Norwalk your now official victims. Developers come in buy on the cheap in prime locations, tear down everything to have the least tax exposure and sit on it and sit on it an sit on it, till profit target is acheived. Promise everything, deliver what little is required to maintain the illusion and to reach profit target. Than sell out and get outta dodge before the towns folk figure out they been taken to the cleaners. Psst, they are still in possesion of the title, are they not? They haven’t fled dodge yet with the loot, have they? Not a whole lot can be done, at this point, about errors that have been made in the past. We can only learn from our errors and endeavour not to repeat them. Some kind of entertainment/restaurant/retail/hotel mish mash with a maritime theme could be the golden ticket. When you really think about it, the posiibilites are stunning. A real theatre that draws in big talent? Norwalks Harbor Theatre? Music? Theatre? Comedy? Wouldn’t be a bad idea to get ideas and suggestions if someone can set up such a website or poll. Lotta talent round here and not just wall street number pirates and wizards of law and loopholes. We have the most valuable resource of all, not just location but talented people and Norwalk should be inviting and encouraging the talent pool we have in such abundunacy. A typical mall design, say like, Danbury or Trumbull may not be he winning model of the future. But a complex that has 24 hour revenue, with events drawing in big names and big numbers opposed to just a 9am-9pm mall, has infinite possbilities. That location is our best hope to turn things around. Lets hope we can get it right.

  8. M Allen

    To do any of it right takes grand vision. Downtown Norwalk, from the Green to 95/7, requires a complete and unadulterated sweeping revamp. But like Stamford, it requires long-term vision and sticking to that vision over multiple administrations. It also requires partners with deep pockets willing to be part of that vision. It requires administrations to stay on top of those partners. That has never been the hallmark of Norwalk. Not just one administration, but dating back generations. Now some can say, well Moccia isn’t the guy to get that done since he has had 8 years to work it out. But nothing his opponent has said rises to the occasion of “grand vision” either. Stamford had grand vision and they worked at it over many, many years. Why should anyone think small-scale visionaries will bring to Norwalk anything other than what the last 10 administrations, Republican and Democrat alike, have failed to do? We’re past the point where small fixes are going to get the job done.

  9. Better Norwalk

    Here’s a thought..

    How about taking money from all the unions budget and hire a real city planner who holds a degree on urban development?

    Oh wait, that would go against what Harry promised to ALL the unions, so that must mean we as taxpayers will be paying for a real urban developer if one is chosen. Welcome to the new Rilling Administration fellow tax payers!

    Unions don’t mind as most live outside Norwalk, so to them it’s NIMBY on taxes.

    Some may disagree with Mayor Moccia, but he’s the best qualified at this point!

  10. Oldtimer

    Better Norwalk
    “How about taking money from all the unions budget” ?
    What budget ? The unions collect dues from each member and use most of that money paying the expenses of dealing with the City and people like Hasselkamp. There is not a whole lot of money there to take, unless you plan on taking wages from people who earn that money. You have demonstrated how little you know about unions but can you honestly claim your wages don’t benefit from union contracts, even if you never paid dues ?

  11. Mary I.

    Moccia, qualified? Sure is, qualified in cutting ribbons. Qualified in playing with a stacked deck. Qualified to sling mud and take the low shots. Qualified to ignore the glaring needs of the community. Qualified at disenfranchising. Qualified to play ring master of the circus. Qualified to extract Norwalk from the time warp we are trapped in and be an active leader in truely moving Norwalk forward? No, 8 long, trying years of NO. Well, if you cant run on your record as an incumbent, and have abolutley no platform, what do you do? Attack the challenger, of course. Moccia had his chance and than some, to make a difference in so many areas and on so many issues, he choose not to, he choose to remain loyal to his party and be damned the city, our schools and the rest of the residents. We have been and continue to be slandered, worldwide, for the whole fiasco wih Ms. Harding. Yep Moccia put us on the map alright. The map of genuine, jerky stops to avoid along 95. Oh but we have that AAA rating,these almighty rating agenices that now are under federal scrutiny for fraud, embezelment, bribery and just being low down scammers of the system. Speaking of scammers; Trash is widely known to be controlled by organized crime, as are other industries, it is not that far of a stretch, to see Norwalk entagled in some federal indictemnets somwehere down the road. This is not a huge puzzle here, no secret decorder ring needed. Just look around at the condition, everything is in and how things are run. Than ask yourselves, can we not do better? Tags; Education,Zoning,POKO,RDA,Oak Hills, NFD, BOE, Tax Battles, Budget Wars, Infastructure, Norwalk Shelter, CL&P, NEON,Emminent Domain, are just a few of the note worthy challenges that Moccia has failed misreably to provide leadership and still none of the traffic signals are synched. We can do better and we can do better with new leadership,proven leadership. Harry you have our votes and our faith. Use the seat wisely and help us unite and make things happen. Lets get some stuff done and truely move our town forward.

  12. Better Norwalk

    What I meant to say was contract, with the unions. We need to real in the costs of contracts if let’s say Harry implements a REAL city planner that has a proven track record.

    But that can’t happen, Harry said all unions should have a seat at the table. Where the hell is the taxpayer’s seat? We will be ignored only until the time comes to pay the increase in taxes which will happen IF Harry is mayor, which I do not see happening seeing many people support our current Mayor Dick Moccia. I’d say somewhere around… oh.. 72%?

    Harry can dream all he wants, but he could not handle NPD, so there is no way in hell he can govern a city let alone plan for development.

    His (Harry’s) development will be all the empty homes and businesses moving out of Norwalk once the taxes hit us hard! We will move into towns where we just may meet all the Norwalk employees being payed on inflated contracts.

    And no, I do not benefit from a salary from any union contract(s)Sorry to disappoint you.

  13. Suzanne

    It’s fairly amusing to see the projections of fear and Harry Rilling’s election as mayor. All you see is fear. The sky is falling! No, make that, the sky is going to fall! Fact is, none of you know what you are talking about regarding a Mayor and Mr. Rilling because he has not held the office. Mr. Moccia, on the other hand, has a track record. A real, tangible, honest to goodness record. And, as Mary I., so eloquently describes it, it stinks. Mayor Moccia IS good at ribbon cutting, I will give him that. But everything else? Excellence eludes him as does the highest standards of governance and education. A track record right there for everyone to see. If you all think it’s good, then you don’t see what excellence is in a governable, respectful, well-planned town either.

  14. Jess

    Speaking of tax battles, where is Rowayton’s beloved cowboy and former Moccia challnger Scott at anyway? Thank you Mr. Rilling for answering the call and standing up for Norwalk. Been a long time since we had a guy with common sense, compassion, vision and the solid management experince of the caliber that Harry has. We are fortunate, very fortunate. Moccia has had the opportunity to show us what he has and what he can do for Norwalk. He has failed over and over.
    But, Moccia did beat Merrell, that was an acomplishment, right?

  15. Better Norwalk

    You’re right, Rilling does not have a track record as mayor.

    BUT, his tenure as chief and how he managed THAT department speaks louder than claims of executive leadership.

    Last several years, the mayor dealt with blizzards, a super storm and other natural disasters which can test the best intention of anyone.

    I just do not see Harry as executive material and believe there should have been a better candidate for office of the mayor on the Democratic ticket. I think the people were driven by charm and smiles with some tactful talking points.

    I vote for whom is best to serve in this position and I’m sorry to say, Harry does not make the cut. So do many other people in Norwalk. You can have all the lawn signs you want, that doesn’t mean people will fully support him at election time.

    I still see a 72% in favor of Dick Moccia. Scientific or not, that alone is a big discrepancy.

    Planning is just not in Harry’s experience since his time with NPD, never has, never will be.

  16. Break the Unions

    Actually Suzanne all one needs to do is look at Harry Rilling and his time as police chief. I think that will justify that he will be horrible as mayor.

  17. Piberman

    It’s a big step from police chief to having well formed and thoughtful views on planning and development. Pointing fingers and saying we can do better isn’t a credible plan. There’s been ample time for the Chief to distribute a credible planning and development plan drawn up by his “advisors”. So it’s back to just political statements. We deserve better. Would the Chief change planning and development heads ? We have no clues.

  18. Piberman

    Dear Commentators:

    Anyone read the lead article “Rating Our Cities” in the Nov issue of CT Magazine ? They rank Norwalk just behind Stamford but no. 1 in education. Is the sky really falling down here ? What are the good folks at CT Magazine missing ? Or are we just drowning in “hot -air” during the election campaign ?

  19. Joe Espo

    @Suzanne: FEAR is right! Harry is not loved or respected; he’s expected- expected to make good on his political markers. Harry has devil’s deals with the unions and obligations to the pressure groups he’s pandering to. He’s going to have to give away alot of money and favoritism to make good on his promises. That big-box mosque will go up, most certainly, because they contributed to his campaign. And the city is going to be run by committee- the Democrat Town Committee- because he owes them, too; big time. Hold on to your wallets and sell your West Norwalk house if Harry’s elected.

  20. M Allen

    Peter, much is made about Norwalk but it is nothing compared to the raised voices during election season. It’s good to see where we stack up against the other cities in CT, but we obviously take a harder look at ourselves. Again, more so in an election year. Norwalk isn’t Darien, Wilton, Westport or New Canaan. It never was and it never will be. We have to deal with issues they only dream about in their insulated little nightmares. That doesn’t mean we don’t have room for improvement, but obviously we’re not as bad off as many would have you believe. All politics is local and boy are we getting our fair share of it this year.

  21. RU4REAL

    C’MON!! Wow, you Moccia supporters are hypocrites!
    Didn’t Moccia work as a Sherriff serving papers and as the head of the RTC, what were his qualifications at the time to be mayor?
    I’ll take a chance with the former police chief Rilling as mayor of a city of 83,000 residents, the experience leading an urban police department like Norwalk’s will help him considerably as mayor.
    Besides a Norwalk native as mayor would be nice to have again and Rilling is a really good guy that cares about his hometown, it is obvious by his long public service.
    I’ll go as far to say, he was probably born to be Norwalk Mayor someday.
    So all of you Mocciaites must be joking when you say these things, no you aren’t joking are you?
    I think you all are TRYING to lose the election for your candidate, at least I got a good laugh out of it.

  22. Tim T

    Has anyone else noticed that Rilling has not given one example of how he is going to flow thru on any of his hair brain ideas. Also he has yet to say how he’s going to fund them. The only way I know of is a TAX INCREASE.

    You state
    “Thank you Mr. Rilling for answering the call and standing up for Norwalk. Been a long time since we had a guy with common sense, compassion, vision and the solid management experince of the caliber that Harry has.”
    You do realize this is the same Harry Rilling that was executive at the NPD and during that time as executive we had the violent crimes
    in Norwalk rise, police overtime rise, scandals at the NPD rise, excuses for the failures of the NPD rise and violent crimes solved by the NPD drop .

  23. Suzanne

    OK, everyone. Enough. Moccia is grand and Rilling was a lousy chief. Prove it.

  24. Better Norwalk


    You requested proof, read this letter then:


  25. Suzanne

    An opinion. A selective list of what is happening with mostly development as opposed to what is not. No mention of what is failing nor the lack of transparency nor cooperation by the Mayor’s office nor the City Council and other commissions which are hampered by outdated regulations, 1970’s as opposed to the 21st Century. The great community involvement ratings is the constituency fighting back against City Hall for all its proposals and propositions to develop inappropriate sites and give away money to places like the Aquarium and Oak Hills. Hodge-podge lists of developments with rose colored glasses as to their success, especially South Norwalk empty store fronts seemingly more prevalent than businesses. A couple of apartment buildings in downtown do not a downtown make. This is not proof, this letter. This is a list of buildings being built in various areas very little of which connects to one another. It does not speak to the lack of governance that is cracking at the seams with chaos and divisiveness the governing mechanisms of government. Great. We have a AAA rating at the expense of decent traffic plans and any urban planning at all. If business was what this was all about rather than quality of life, I guess we would be golden. Instead, we have homes valued at far less than what they are worth, unless it is assessments for higher property taxation, and people pulling their kids from substandard schools focused on the politics of budgets instead of teaching our kids. I am glad Mr. DesRochers feels so happy about the Town of Norwalk. I, for one, say we can do much, much better and really BE one of the best Cities of Connecticut rather than just being named one. Congratulations to those who set the bar so low, it is an excellent thing when Councils vote on contracts they have not seen, an administration who “doesn’t know the details” of an eminent domain case ready to kick out an 80 plus year old man from his longtime home for a parking lot or the loyalty oaths required of our appointed representatives in lieu of voting their conscious.

    This is not proof. This is propaganda and I am not buying it.

  26. M Allen

    Suzanne, could it be we’re in the position we’re in, not ebcause of our government or our officials but because we have a disproportionate number of takers and nmot enough makers. Coiuld it be we’re in a position where the tipping point comes and the makers decided to go someplace else where their tax dollars will be taken seriously. It’s all well and good to say we should have this and we should have that and more money for the schools. But when the city’s resources are being spread tinly across all of the various services necessary to handled 90,000 people of vastly differing income levels, we just aren’t going to have everything, disputes about where to spend will be frequent, and yet still we will have the rabble screaming none of it is enough and it’s just not good enough. We cna do better. But quit kidding yourself that one side or the other has some lock on that. You may like Chief Rilling. That’s great. I have a lot of respect for the man. But in the end, the Mayor is one person and if you even remotely think that the underticket below Chief Rilling is something the city of Norwalk should be thrilled with, then good luck with that. More tax dollars being used by takers and paid for by makers.

  27. M Allen

    My typing, along with my opinion, is terribad this morning. Apologies.

  28. Better Norwalk

    “I, for one, say we can do much, much better and really BE one of the best Cities of Connecticut rather than just being named one. ”

    Well, you’re all in luck!

    Connecticut Magazine HAS rated Norwalk 2nd as “BEST CITY”

    So as always, this too is not enough to convince all of you that Norwalk has been moving forward.

    No matter what data, you people want to spin it and view this through some really rose colored glasses.

    Data and facts I guess don’t matter. Other opinions don’t matter. My guess is the partisan fervor to a parties individual who has no conception of urban development matters. Making conjectures and attempting to look knowledgeable is all that matters I guess. So, out with data and facts, let’s go with “he’s better than him because he said so”

    We can all go back and forth on this, and bloviate like some do as opposed to bringing facts. It’s an election season so everyone is an expert.

  29. Don’t Panic

    Speaking of tax assessments, aren’t those revaluations due about now? Or were they timed so that the potential sticker shock of increased taxes would not be apparent until AFTER the election? HMMM.

  30. M Allen

    Revaluations in and of themselves don’t cause tax increases.
    Valuation x Mill Rate = Tax Due
    I’d be less worried about where the Reval comes in and more worried about the total amount of taxes they need (want) and the mill rate they use to get there. Because regardless of the reval, those other two numbers are where the pain is applied.

  31. Don’t Panic

    @M Allen,
    I understand the math, but the reval company had a pattern of subtly threatening homeowners with higher revals if they were denied access, even though they purported were using only market data to assess homes and not discretion.
    Clearly if your valuation moves significantly, then your proportion of that overall tax pool will change as well.

  32. M Allen

    True. I’m just pointing out that while it is fun to poke at the timing of the reval, it’s not the most significant issue to taxpayers. I’d think if you were worried about the reval that you would be even more worried about which candidate(s) is more likely to increase the budget and corresponding mill rate to pay for it.

  33. Break the Unions

    Better Norwalk
    Excellent link
    Its amazing how some dismiss facts that they don’t like.

  34. M Allen

    Interesting little tidbit from today’s Hour in its “The Way We Were” story
    OCT. 23 – Traffic is backed up two miles in both directions during the opening Tuesday of the new Caldor’s Store on Route 7 where an estimated 15,000 patrons show up.
    OCT 24. – The 1,000-car parking lot of the new 105,000-square-foot Bradlees Family Center on Connecticut Avenue is filled to capacity long before the store opens.
    It’s amazing that 50 years ago Norwalk was a big-box town and apparently everyone seemed to love it.

  35. Suzanne

    M Allen, Quit kidding myself that one side or the other has a lock on how to run Norwalk better? I am not kidding myself when I believe and say Norwalk can do better. Resources are given away, e.g., loans forgiven to the golf course and to the Aquarium while roads are neglected and marketing “is not possible” according to this mayor. Perhaps we would have more “makers” than “takers” if there was a REAL plan of development for Norwalk and a process by which it would be made more attractive to those “makers” leaving town. This does not take a “grand vision” by the way, it takes cooperation and inclusion and a process of urban planning that is well-tested and used all over the country successfully. The numbers reflected in CT Magazine that everyone is spouting as proof of how great the town is shows Stamford first and Norwalk second for towns of their size and scope, not for the entirety of towns in CT. The data they used is respectable but does not examine experiential nor actual permitted development within the context of an overall plan. Norwalk doesn’t have one or the one that was created, the Master Plan, is ignored. To look at the flip side, why do you think, M Allen, this administration, if given another term will not continue to “take” for their own while ignoring the real infrastructure needs of the City, reinforced by a comprehensive plan that will revitalize Wall Street, South Norwalk, straighten out the debacle that is Main Street, keep the line towed instead of giving away money to favored institutions? And why is there the automatic assumption that the under ticket with Rilling does not know how to budget? The assumption is made everywhere isn’t it? The Republicans want everyone to take care of themselves. The Democrats want to take care of everybody by spending more than is available to spend. Your assumption is not only not what I said, it is inaccurate as to the intentions and actual actions that maybe ascribed to either side, none of which we know (except for Moccia’s administration which is a sorry lot, unfortunately.)

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