City Notes
Remembrance Day

Remembrance Day

WEST HAVEN, Dec. 8, 2016 — Florence Stoeber, wife of the late Jack Stoeber, a Navy veteran of Pearl Harbor and Iwo Jima, leads the Pledge of Allegiance during the city’s observance of Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day Wednesday morning at the William A. Soderman Memorial Flagpole on the Veterans Walk of Honor in Bradley Point Park. Jack Stoeber, whose ashes were scattered in Pearl Harbor after he died Jan. 16 at age 97, was a .50-caliber machine-gunner aboard the destroyer tender USS Whitney in the Pacific theater of World War II. Wearing a jacket embroidered with “Pearl Harbor Survivors Association Widow” on the back, Florence Stoeber, fighting back tears, spoke about her husband with deep love and reverence during the annual Pearl Harbor rites, a ceremony he had attended so many times before. A resident of Milford, she was accompanied by her daughter, granddaughter and great-granddaughter. The nearly one-hour event commemorated the 75th anniversary of the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor in front of dozens of veterans and their families, residents, and city and state officials, most of whom delivered poignant remarks, including Mayor Edward M. O’Brien and his executive assistant, John W. Lewis, the master of ceremonies. Representing the PHSA, Jerry Lehr, son of the late William Lehr, a Pearl Harbor Navy vet, read aloud the 17 Connecticut servicemen who were killed Dec. 7, 1941, at the U.S. naval base in Oahu, Hawaii, as West Haven Fire Department Lt. William Heffernan tolled the department’s chrome bell each instant a name was called. The solemn service featured a presentation of the colors by the West Haven Police Color Guard and a flag-raising by the West Haven Fire Department Honor Guard. It also included an opening prayer by West Haven Veterans Council chaplain Frederick Kaiser and a rendition of the national anthem by Grace Kelly Nowak, as well as taps played by former West Shore Fire Department Lt. Kevin McKeon. (City Photo/Michael P. Walsh)

O’Brien shares city’s promising future with Yale students

O’Brien shares city’s promising future with Yale students

WEST HAVEN, Dec. 8, 2016 — Mayor Edward M. O’Brien, back, discusses a number of his administration’s up-and-coming economic development initiatives with students of Yale University’s Branford College on Nov. 29 at City Hall. From left, senior Zachary Schlesinger, sophomore Robert Scaramuccia, freshman Charlotte Van Voorhis, senior Zunaira Arshad and freshman Durga Rathi. Yale recently named O’Brien an associate fellow at Branford College. (City Photo/Michael P. Walsh)

West Haven tax bills due Jan. 1

West Haven tax bills due Jan. 1

WEST HAVEN, Dec. 8, 2016 — The second installment of the city’s tax bills — real estate, motor vehicle, personal property and sewer — on the 2015 grand list is due Jan. 1, Tax Collector Eric Murillo said.

The 2015 supplemental motor vehicle bills, which are being mailed, are also due Jan. 1.

Payments after Feb. 1 are considered delinquent and subject to interest, Murillo said.

The tax office is open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the first floor of City Hall, 355 Main St.

For the convenience of taxpayers, the city has an ATM outside the office.

Taxpayers can see their tax bills, make a payment, and print their payment history for income tax purposes by clicking on Tax Collector.

Sewer bills are on the same page but under a separate heading.

In January, current taxes can be paid by mail to a tax office lockbox, P.O. Box 150461, Hartford 06115-0461. When paying by lockbox or the drop box outside the tax office in City Hall, the canceled check is the receipt.

After Feb. 1, taxes with interest can be paid by mail to the Office of the Tax Collector, P.O. Box 401, West Haven 06516. Payments can also be made in person.

Anyone needing a motor vehicle clearance must pay in person with cash, credit card, bank check or money order.

Those with questions about assessments or vehicles they no longer own should contact the assessor’s office prior to paying their tax bills at or 203-937-3515, ext. 1004, 1005 or 1007.

Tax credits for elderly and disabled homeowners are already reflected on tax bills.

For tax payment questions, call the tax office at 203-937-3525.

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‘West Haven Christmas Tree Lighting 2016’ airing on YouTube

‘West Haven Christmas Tree Lighting 2016’ airing on YouTube

WEST HAVEN, Dec. 8, 2016 — The annual tree-lighting video, “West Haven Christmas Tree Lighting 2016,” is available for viewing on the city’s official YouTube channel at

Christmas tree lighting on Green heralds holiday season

From left, Mike Martone of The Mike Martone Band looks on as Mayor Edward M. O'Brien uses a "special smartphone app" with help from Bailey Middle School seventh-graders Eveleen Jiang, Sofia Lora and Obyda Charachfi and eighth-grader Emily Console to light the Christmas tree on the Green at the annual ceremony Nov. 26. Before the lighting, O'Brien heralded the students as the selected artists of his Christmas card campaign. (City Photo/Michael P. Walsh)

Christmas tree lighting on Green heralds holiday season

WEST HAVEN, Nov. 29, 2016 — Bailey Middle School seventh-graders Obyda Charachfi, Eveleen Jiang and Sofia Lora and eighth-grader Emily Console helped Mayor Edward M. O’Brien use a “special smartphone app” to light the Christmas tree on the Green at the annual holiday kickoff Nov. 26.

Santa and Mrs. Claus, who arrived in a 1916 Ford pump firetruck, were then escorted to the Main Street stage by the West Haven High School cheerleading team to the sound of applause and shouts of glee from an estimated 400 merrymakers young and old.

Before the ceremonial lighting of the tree, which is encircled by five smaller evergreen trees adorned with fluorescent-colored lights, O’Brien heralded the students as the selected artists of his Christmas card campaign.

The evening of festivities featured renditions of holiday classics and singalongs of Yuletide carols by The Mike Martone Band with special guest Nora Mullins.

Before their long sleigh ride back to the North Pole, Santa and Mrs. Claus posed for snapshots in their workshop.

Just steps from the workshop, boys and girls dropped off their wish lists at Santa’s official U.S. Postal Service mailbox.

The event was sponsored by the USAlliance Federal Credit Union, Marenna Amusements and the West Haven Voice.

Huge electric snowflakes decorated The John C. Ireland Bandstand, and Victorian-era streetlamps bedecked with angels blowing on trumpets illuminated the walkways.

Along with hayrides, children rode on the Train Station and the Dino Bears. They also fished in a “pond” for prizes.

For the first time, the free activities featured an ice carving demonstration by Matthew Terzano of Ice Matters in Cheshire, who sculpted Frosty the Snowman.

People brought nonperishable items for the West Haven Emergency Assistance Task Force, which provides food for residents in need.

Volunteers from the Chamber of Commerce handed out hot chocolate, and vendors sold food and novelties.

The vendors included Christiano’s Mini Donuts & Desserts truck.

To view the photo gallery, click on Scenes from the 2016 Christmas Tree Lighting

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Extended stay hotel chain announces plans for Sawmill Rd.; follow West Haven City Hall on Facebook

A rendering shows the four-story, 123-room WoodSpring Suites extended stay hotel that Wichita, Kan.-based WoodSpring Hotels LLC is proposing to build at 480 Sawmill Road, the former site of Staples. The $10 million, 48,391-square-foot project, which should take about 18 months to complete, is expected to create eight to nine full- and part-time jobs and generate an estimated $200,000 in annual property tax revenue for the city. (WoodSpring Hotels LLC)

WoodSpring Hotels announces plans for Sawmill Rd.

WEST HAVEN, Nov. 29, 2016 — WoodSpring Hotels, the nation’s fastest-growing extended stay hotel brand, has announced plans to build an all-suites hotel in West Haven, the company’s first in Connecticut and the Northeast.

WoodSpring Hotels LLC, based in Wichita, Kansas, is in the process of filing plans with the Department of Planning and Development to construct a four-story, 123-room WoodSpring Suites at 480 Sawmill Road, said Scott W. Bixler, the company’s senior vice president of development.

“The New Haven market, particularly West Haven, is a great fit for our continued growth,” Bixler said. “Leading industries like health care and manufacturing, the proximity to New York City and Interstate 95, ongoing construction projects, and universities like Yale and Quinnipiac and the University of New Haven all attract guests who want the homelike comforts an extended stay hotel provides at prices that fit their budget.”

Bixler said the latest WoodSpring building designs feature kitchenettes with a refrigerator, freezer, microwave and cooktop in each room. They also include such common spaces as a fitness center, expanded lobby space, a small necessities market and guest laundry facilities.

Bixler said the hotel provides free Wi-Fi to all guests and offers space for employee training and development and small meetings for employees and guests.

“I am very pleased to announce this exciting new hotel development in West Haven,” Mayor Edward M. O’Brien said. “This project will incorporate the former location of Staples, a prime chunk of real estate that has been vacant for more than a decade, and will continue and enhance the transformation of Sawmill Road into a first-class commercial and retail corridor.”

Colonial Properties Inc. of Orange, a commercial real estate brokerage company, is handling the sale of the Sawmill Road parcel, which “should close in the near future,” according to officials familiar with the deal.

On Nov. 22, the Planning and Zoning Commission unanimously approved WoodSpring’s request for a text change to a zoning district regulation to pave the way for the proposed 48,391-square-foot hotel.

The $10 million project, which should begin in early spring, is expected to create eight to nine full- and part-time jobs and generate an estimated $200,000 in annual property tax revenue for the city, said Joseph A. Riccio Jr., commissioner of planning and development.

Bixler said the hotel should take about 18 months to complete and open in late 2018.

The 2.88-acre site houses a 19,000-square-foot building previously occupied by Staples, which closed in 2002, and Furniture Ave., which opened in 2005 and shuttered shortly after, along with a parking lot with several dozen spaces. The property, owned by West Haven Mall LLC, has been vacant ever since.

WoodSpring Suites would sit off I-95’s Exit 42 next to two other major hotel franchises on Route 162: the seven-story, 100-room Best Western Executive Hotel at 490 Sawmill Road and the four-story, 101-room Hampton Inn & Suites at 510 Sawmill Road.

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