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WEST HAVEN, June 6, 2019 — “The Beach Street project, which excludes the former Debonair Motel, is a complex construction project consisting of three phases. It is and has always been a top priority of my administration.
We received funding for phase one, the design and construction aspect, which is scheduled to begin this fall. The design for phase two is underway. Once phase one is complete, phases two and three can move forward. If the project proceeds as planned, our city engineer estimates the completion of phase one by July 2020.
In the meantime, I believe it is important to work on our other priorities, one of which is the renovation of the Savin Rock Conference Center.
After years of deferred maintenance, the building needs a new roof and other upgrades. Removing the interior walls to make one large banquet facility and adding a kitchen will make the facility more marketable. The SRCC can bring people and business to West Haven if it is renovated and managed properly. The SRCC will also bring a reliable, long-term revenue stream to the city, which given our financial condition is an important part of necessary structural change.
The future Center for the Arts continues to sit vacant in the center of West Haven.
I believe that converting the 107-year-old building into a performing arts center will further our goal of revitalizing our downtown. Downtown West Haven would benefit from the addition of commercial attractions supported by foot traffic, and I believe the arts center will be an important component of downtown revitalization as well as structural change.
While I understand the frustration created by vacant properties on Beach Street, our economic development commissioner has been in close contact with those property owners.
It is important to remember that these properties are privately owned. That said, we will continue to push for the properties’ proper maintenance, aggressive marketing and eventual development. We encourage the owners to find buyers who will invest in these commercial spaces and grow our grand list. All these efforts will benefit residents and visitors to our beautiful shorefront.
With regard to the vacant properties, I have taken a different approach than in the past. My administration communicates with the property owners and has offered to assist them as they work to sell or develop their properties and revitalize the Beach Street corridor. In keeping with our newly adopted Plan of Conservation and Development, we are mindful of the unique challenges of the Shoreline Residential Retail Design District but realize that a responsible redevelopment approach will result in grand list growth.
My administration has also made The Haven project a priority.
We sold Bayview Park, have worked with the developer to secure local approvals, and are now awaiting a certificate from the Connecticut Department of Transportation’s Office of the State Traffic Administration to install turn lanes and widen Elm Street. It is taking longer than I would have liked, but once The Haven demolition begins, it will spur development along Beach Street and throughout our city.”
NANCY R. ROSSI, Mayor