City Notes
Happy holidays from Mayor Ed O’Brien and family
City collecting recyclable electronic items

City collecting recyclable electronic items Jan. 7

WEST HAVEN, Dec. 19, 2016 — Residents can drop off electronic recyclables — typically anything that plugs in or needs a battery — from 8 a.m.-noon Jan. 7 at the highway maintenance garage, 1 Collis St.

The city is partnering with Take 2 Inc. of Waterbury, a recycler and collector of universal e-waste devices, to collect residential electronic items on a quarterly basis.

The next drop-off day is March 4. Details at E-waste Drop-off.

The collection is free for residents who have such items as TVs, hand-held video games, computers and monitors, copiers and scanners, microwave and toaster ovens, dehumidifiers and other small appliances.

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Consultant, architect hired for arts center project

Consultant, architect hired for arts center project

WEST HAVEN, Dec. 14, 2016 — The city’s long-planned arts center has seen a flurry of activity during the past year.

First, in April, the board of directors of the West Haven Center for the Arts hired a respected consultant to direct the center’s development.

Then, just last month, the board hired a longtime city architect to design the building’s interior.

Board Chairwoman Susan McCarthy said Catherine Bradshaw, executive consultant of Cadence Consulting LLC of Guilford, was tapped to orchestrate the ongoing fundraising and renovation efforts to complete the center’s future home at 304 Center St.

Bradshaw is charged with overseeing the project to convert the former Masonic Temple, which was bought in 2007 from Annawon Lodge 115 with a $650,000 state grant, into a first-class cultural arts center.

Board member Joseph A. Riccio Jr., the city’s commissioner of planning and development, said architect William Sapienza, owner of Sapienza Architects LLC at 420 Campbell Ave., was selected to draw up fresh plans for the project, which now calls for refurbishing the first floor of the two-story building instead of both floors.

Riccio said the scaled-back project will reduce construction costs in the near term and will allow the center to open sooner. He said a finished first floor will also provide a tangible scheme for the course of the project and will benefit a fundraising campaign for the second-floor phase of the center.

The interior renovations of the original design phase were sketched by New Haven-based Turner Brooks Architects in 2012. Those plans have been scrapped in favor of new plans that will better represent the vision of the five-member board and Mayor Edward M. O’Brien, McCarthy said.

Sapienza, who was hired for $20,000, is expected to deliver his plans to the board and O’Brien over the winter.

In addition to McCarthy and Riccio, the board includes West Haven Council on the Arts member Paul Scanlon, Hamden Hall drama teacher Karl Gasteyer, former executive director of the Klein Memorial Auditorium in Bridgeport, and prominent downtown attorney Vincent R. “Skip” Falcone.

“Catherine is reviewing the plans with the board and the city on a regular basis to monitor progress on deliverables and to determine whether additional resources and time are needed to achieve project goals,” said McCarthy, a senior marketing director at a biopharmaceutical company in Westchester County, New York.

Bradshaw, who is paid a monthly stipend based on hours devoted to the project, has a wealth of experience in developing nonprofit organizations and has assisted numerous arts organizations in developing strategic plans, including the Elm Shakespeare Co. in New Haven, the Ivoryton Playhouse and the Klein.

Bradshaw’s contract, however, stipulates that “the total fees for the project will not exceed $31,500 unless the scope of service is renegotiated” between the board and her.

To pay Bradshaw and Sapienza, the board is using money from a $500,000 gift the city received from Yale University in April 2009 to help support the multimillion-dollar arts center project. The city is the board’s fiduciary partner.

Bradshaw is working with the board and the city to enhance the organizational structure required to operate the center. She is also providing professional support for fundraising and strategic planning for the center’s development, McCarthy said.

McCarthy said the board is primarily focused on securing funding for the center, including grant money for interior improvements.

O’Brien said the center will complement West Haven’s 3-year-old Metro-North Railroad commuter station and The Haven proposed upscale outlet mall as destinations that drive economic development for the downtown business district.

“This arts and entertainment center will serve as a catalyst for economic growth in the center of West Haven,” O’Brien said. “I am confident that under the direction of Catherine Bradshaw and the board of directors, this highly anticipated project will finally see the light of day.”

The center has undergone a host of upgrades in recent years.

In 2012, thanks to funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, crews from L&M Construction Co. and Mercury Solar Systems, both of Port Chester, New York, installed new windows and an energy-efficient metal roof with skylights and solar panels at the 15,022-square-foot building.

Other completed improvements include repair and facade work to preserve the architectural integrity of the 104-year-old building, along with new ionic columns and doors, which were done by Kronenberger & Sons Restoration Inc. The Middletown contractor specializes in the restoration, preservation and adaptive reuse of period structures.

The center is being financed as a fiscal development project with more than $200,000 worth of Community Development Block Grant funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The project has also received $550,000 from the state Bond Commission, $371,000 from the U.S. Energy Department, $40,000 from the state Department of Economic and Community Development’s Offices of Culture and Tourism, and $20,000 from the Connecticut Main Street Center.

New digs for park maintenance

New digs for park maintenance

WEST HAVEN, Dec. 12, 2016 — Mayor Edward M. O’Brien, left, and Public Works Commissioner Dominic Perrotti look on as a crew from Steel and Concrete Construction Services of Granby erects a 3,500-square-foot prefabricated steel building Friday for the new Department of Park Maintenance headquarters in Veterans Memorial Park, 129 Bull Hill Lane. The department’s former facility there, which previously housed the federal Nike site, was converted into locker rooms and a bathroom as part of the recent Veterans Memorial Field upgrades. For the past year, the department has been operating out of the highway maintenance garage, 1 Collis St. The $250,000 prefab project, which includes a bathroom, an office and two drive-thru bays for loading, is being financed at no cost to city taxpayers, thanks to Local Capital Improvement Program funds from the state Office of Policy and Management. SCCS, a subcontractor of United Steel Inc. of East Hartford, is expected to complete the job in early January. (City Photo/Michael P. Walsh)

City issues snow rules for parking

City issues snow rules for parking

WEST HAVEN, Dec. 12, 2016 — To help expedite snow removal, the Department of Public Works is reminding residents and businesses to observe parking regulations during and after snowstorms.

Under normal snow conditions, once snow begins to fall, a parking ban is in effect on the even-numbered side of most roads, unless one is posted with a “no parking” sign on the odd side.

The ban is in effect for 36 hours after a snowstorm. Residents are urged to park in driveways or designated private lots.

During an official snow emergency declared by Mayor Edward M. O’Brien, a parking ban will run from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. on both sides of Campbell and Savin avenues, Morgan Lane, Elm Street, Meloy Road, Second Avenue from Elm to Beach streets and Main Street from Savin to Washington avenues.

Police will tag and tow vehicles violating the parking ordinance at the owner’s expense.

Per city ordinance, residents and businesses are responsible for removing snow from sidewalks on and bordering their properties. Also, per ordinance, plowing or blowing snow into city streets is prohibited, and violators are subject to fines.

Residents and businesses with mailboxes damaged by snow thrown from a plow are the responsibility of the property owner. The city will only repair mailboxes damaged by the striking of a plow blade if there is visible evidence, such as paint or tire tracks.

Snow removal around mailboxes is the property owner’s responsibility.

For information, call the Public Works Department at 203-937-3585.

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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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