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Washington Village plan one of six finalists for federal grant

An artist’s rendering shows the proposed Washington Village makeover, described as a potential game changer for South Norwalk. Current residents would move into Phase 1.

NORWALK, Conn. – A development that has been proposed to replace the aging Washington Village housing project is one of six finalists for a Choice Neighborhoods grant from the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

Trinity Financial’s proposal, which was developed in conjunction with Norwalk Housing Authority, was one of 44 applicants for a $30 million grant, Redevelopment Agency Executive Director Tim Sheehan said. The authority was notified in mid-March that the proposal is one of six finalists. However, being named a finalist is not a guarantee of getting a grant, Sheehan said.

HUD does not know yet how much money will be allotted for Choice Neighborhoods, Sheehan indicated. “The determination is if they can deal with what they’ve got or if they have to eliminate projects,” he said. He did not know how much longer the process would take.

In 2010, Boston was one of five cities to split $122 million. In 2011, Chicago won a $30.5 million grant.

“I am very excited, actually,” he said. “I am very happy that we have gotten this far. I think I have previously said the Choice Neighborhoods implementation grant was going to be a challenging grant to get because of the highly competitive nature of it, and typically the awards have been made to much bigger cities than Norwalk.”

Published reports name projects in Philadelphia and Atlanta as finalists. A project proposed to renovate public housing in Washington D.C. was turned down, as was a proposal from Buffalo, N.Y.

Federal officials are scheduled to do a site visit Thursday, Sheehan said.

The authority has scheduled a community meeting from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday at the South Norwalk Community Center, SoNoCC Deputy Director Pat Ferrandino said.

Sheehan would not say who the other five finalists are in the competition for the Choice Neighborhoods grant. But they are “much larger” cities, he said. In past years, cities have included Boston, Chicago, New Orleans, Tampa, San Francisco and Seattle.

HUD’s Choice Neighborhoods program seeks to replace distressed public and assisted housing with high-quality mixed-income housing, improve educational outcomes for youth and “create the conditions necessary for public and private reinvestment in distressed neighborhoods to offer the kinds of amenities and assets, including safety, good schools, and commercial activity, that are important to families’ choices about their community,” according to the HUD website.

The Washington Village project is described as the oldest public housing project in Connecticut. Mayor Harry Rilling said recently that it may be the oldest housing project in the country.

The city is expected to make a major investment in infrastructure if the Washington Village reconstruction project goes forward, as the intersection of Day and Raymond Streets will need to be raised due to flooding concerns.

Comments

4 responses to “Washington Village plan one of six finalists for federal grant”

  1. Diane C2

    “The city is expected to make a major investment in infrastructure if the Washington Village reconstruction project goes forward, as the intersection of Day and Raymond Streets will need to be raised due to flooding concerns.”

    @nancyonnorwalk: How much money is estimated for this “major” investment, and who is paying for it?

  2. EDR

    I think the city needs to step up and do what is right to see this redevelopment gets accomplished. Any investment in improving our roads is a very good thing. Doing it in conjunction with improving our affordable housing base is even better. Glad to hear this is happening.

  3. Silence Dogood

    So the federal government prints money and graciously decides to give it to us as if it never has to be repaid by anyone. It would be cheaper to give the existing residents houses in real neighborhoods than to build this. Follow the money and you will see who stands to gain the most from this criminal enterprise.

  4. Just asking

    So that is plan ONE. Can we see plans two through 6?

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