City Notes
West Haven named ninth-safest, ninth-fastest-growing city in state

West Haven named ninth-safest, ninth-fastest-growing city in state

WEST HAVEN, June 9, 2017 — West Haven is among the top-10 safest and fastest-growing cities in Connecticut, according to the real estate infotainment blog HomeSnacks.

West Haven was ranked the ninth-safest place in the state, according to a blog post written by Nick Johnson, a public relations specialist who has secured media placements in The New York Times and Time magazine. The post was published on the website April 28.

West Haven was also ranked the ninth-fastest-growing city in Connecticut, according to a blog post written by Chris Kolmar, founder of the real estate blog Movoto, whose research has been featured in the Your Money section of The New York Times. The post was published May 25, 2016.

“To be recognized as one of the safest and fastest-growing cities in Connecticut is a great honor and something every West Haven resident should be proud of,” Mayor Edward M. O’Brien said. “With our commitment to ensuring our public safety officials have the resources they need, to investing in our infrastructure, and to bringing an unprecedented level of economic development to our city, these recognitions should come as no surprise.”

“West Haven is moving forward,” O’Brien added, “and that is a trend we will see continue.”

Darien topped the list of the “10 Safest Cities in Connecticut for 2017,” followed by Westport, Shelton, Ridgefield, Portland, Windsor Locks, Wethersfield, Bethel, West Haven and Willimantic.

“Looking at the data, you can tell that anything within a 15-minute drive of Darien is the most desirable, according to science and data,” Johnson wrote. “But as most Connecticut residents would agree, almost every place here is awesome.”

Johnson based his research on Connecticut cities with a population of more than 5,000 people. Specifically, he analyzed the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report, published in September 2015, which summarizes the number of property crimes and violent crimes in each city per year.

Three criteria were used: violent crimes per capita — murders, assaults, rapes, armed robberies — as well as property crimes per capita — thefts, burglaries, motor vehicle thefts — and total crimes per capita.

HomeSnacks, which “aims to deliver bite-sized pieces of infotainment about where you live,” is owned by Chasing Chains LLC and based in Durham, North Carolina.

The data collected by HomeSnacks for various blog posts have been cited and used by ABC News, CBS News and NBC News in their reports.

For Kolmar’s post, he based his research on the U.S. Census Bureau’s growth rates for cities with a population of more than 5,000 people in 2010-14.

“We used data and science to determine the places in Connecticut everyone wants to move to today,” Kolmar wrote. “After getting knee deep in the (Census Bureau’s) American Community Survey, we emerged with this set of cities in the Constitution State that have people climbing over each other to get in.”

Danbury topped the list of the “10 Fastest Growing Cities in Connecticut,” followed by Stamford, Shelton, Norwalk, Bridgeport, Norwich, New Haven, Milford, West Haven and Hartford.

Kolmar further wrote, “If you happen to be a resident of one of these communities, you’re probably not too surprised to find it on our list.”

School bands featured at concert saluting America’s vets

School bands featured at concert saluting America’s vets tonight

WEST HAVEN, June 9, 2017 — The city’s summer concert series will kick off a week earlier than expected, tonight, with a salute to America’s veterans by a trio of school bands, Mayor Edward M. O’Brien announced.

The tribute concert will feature selections played by the West Haven High School, Bailey Middle School and Carrigan Intermediate School bands at 7 p.m. on the Green, followed by Simply Swing, a 10-piece orchestra that includes members of the 102nd Army Band of the Connecticut National Guard, at 7:30 p.m.

Simply Swing’s one-hour “Celebrates America” show will include such patriotic standards as “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy,” “St. Louis Blues,” “You’re a Grand Old Flag” and “The Yankee Doodle Boy.”

“It’s going to be a great night to honor our veterans,” O’Brien said. “At the same time, we can see our student musicians from all across West Haven. We have a very talented group of kids, and it’s a great time to highlight their talents.”

At 6:30 p.m., the school bands will line up in front of 313 Campbell Ave., formerly Christopher John Michael’s Restaurant, before marching a half-mile up to The John C. Ireland Bandstand on the Green for their performance.

The bands will be escorted by members of the West Haven Veterans Council, the governing body of the city’s veterans organizations, which include AMVETS Post 1, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 9422 and West Haven Vietnam Veterans.

The bands will also be accompanied by the West Haven Police Color Guard and the West Haven Fire Department Honor Guard, which is composed of members of the City of West Haven Fire Department Allingtown and the First Taxation and West Shore fire districts.

The high school’s Bel Canto and Camerata choirs, under the direction of Phyllis Silver, will also perform, singing the national anthem and “God Bless America.” Simply Swing’s trumpeter will play taps.

The high school, Bailey and Carrigan bands are directed by Cassandra K. Marcella, Rachel Mekeel and Angelo Vessichio, respectively.

School music teacher Paul Scanlon, a member of the West Haven Council on the Arts, will serve as the master of ceremonies.

The event will also include food trucks.

Register for Park-Rec playground camp

Park-Rec playground camp offered

WEST HAVEN, June 9, 2017 — The Department of Parks and Recreation is offering a six-week playground program for residents ages 6-12.

The drop-in program will meet outdoors from 9 a.m. to 1:45 p.m. weekdays, starting July 5, at Carrigan Intermediate School and Haley, Molloy, Pagels, Savin Rock and Washington elementary schools. The program will not meet if it rains and may close early because of bad weather or excessive heat warnings.

College and high school counselors will supervise children with organized games, arts and crafts and field trips, as well as swimming each week at the Carrigan pool.

The fee is $30 per child. Registration is open through June 27 at the department’s Painter Park office, 190 Kelsey Ave., or at

The federally financed Child Nutrition Program will serve eligible residents 18 and younger two free meals a day at the playgrounds.

Public hearing set June 22 for proposed POCD update

Public hearing set June 22 for proposed POCD update

WEST HAVEN, June 6, 2017 — The Planning and Zoning Commission will hold a public hearing June 22 for residents and other stakeholders to comment on the proposed update of the city’s master Plan of Conservation and Development, Mayor Edward M. O’Brien and commission Chairwoman Kathleen Hendricks announced.

The meeting is slated for 7 p.m. in the Carrigan Intermediate School auditorium, 2 Tetlow St.

O’Brien said the Plan of Conservation and Development, or POCD, will steer the development of West Haven and the protection of its open space and conservation areas for the next decade.

State law requires municipalities to update conservation and development plans, which set out goals for the future, every 10 years.

West Haven’s current POCD was adopted in 2004.

People can review the proposed plan, which requires P&Z approval, on the city’s website at Draft POCD.

Paper copies of the plan are also available for review in the city clerk’s and planning and development offices at City Hall, 355 Main St., as well as at the Main Library, 300 Elm St.

The POCD update was developed under the guidance of the Plan of Conservation and Development Steering Committee, an 11-member panel appointed by O’Brien a year ago, said Hendricks, who serves on the committee with “residents of different neighborhoods, local businesspeople, government leaders and local university representatives.”

The other committee members are University of New Haven representative Louis Annino, West Haven Black Coalition President Carroll E. Brown, attorney Aaron Charney, Yale University representative Justin Freiberg, Hamden Hall teacher Karl Gasteyer, mayoral Executive Assistant John W. Lewis, Board of Education Chairman James W. Morrissey, West Haven Chamber of Commerce Director Alan R. Olenick, engineer Christopher Phillip Onofrio and Councilman Sean P. Ronan, D-9.

During the yearlong development of the POCD, the city encouraged the public to participate in the process through in-person events and workshops and via the plan’s website at

“To be effective, the POCD needed to reflect the highest-priority issues and concerns of the public,” O’Brien said. “I am pleased with the hard work of the Steering Committee over the past year, and I am grateful to the residents and other stakeholders who participated in the planning process.”

Hendricks said: “I would like to thank everyone who came out and participated in the workshops and public meetings. I feel the proposed plan is responsive to the opportunities and challenges residents raised during those sessions.”

Hendricks added that “Residents want to see some development along parts of the waterfront, but only if our beaches and natural areas are protected.”

“We also heard that people want to see the continued development of Allingtown, the revitalization of downtown, new development around the train station, and improved transit routing and connections,” she said.

Through a competitive request for proposal process, the city hired a consulting team led by The RBA Group of Norwalk, now known as NV5, to help prepare the plan.

Neil Desai, NV5’s senior city planner who directed the West Haven POCD planning process, said: “The POCD presents a strategic approach to stimulating economic development in West Haven. Residents recognize the potential that the city has, and this plan aims to put together all the right pieces to guide the city toward reaching its full potential.”

City Planning and Development Commissioner Joseph A. Riccio Jr. and Assistant City Planner David W. Killeen served as resources for the Steering Committee and the plan update process.

For information, visit or call the planning and development office at 203-937-3580.

Kickoff fundraiser tapped for Columbus Day parade

Kickoff fundraiser tapped for Columbus Day parade

WEST HAVEN, May 10, 2017 — The Columbus Day Committee of Greater New Haven will hold a kickoff event from 6-9 p.m. June 28 at the Cielo Banquet Ballroom, 85 Chase Lane, to launch its fundraising campaign for the 2017 Columbus Day parade in West Haven.

The benefit will include a buffet of Italian foods donated by city restaurants, along with beer, wine, soda, coffee and dessert. It will also include entertainment by crooners Earl Benedetto and Mike Negretti.

Tickets, which cost $25, are on sale in the mayor’s office, 355 Main St., and the West Haven Italian-American Civic Association, 85 Chase Lane. Checks are payable to the Columbus Day Committee.

For tickets and reservations or for information, contact Cathy Sherman, executive administrative assistant to Mayor Edward M. O’Brien, at or 203-937-3510. Tickets are also available by calling Frank Consorte, former president of the Italian-American Club, at 203-676-6379.

Proceeds will go to the Greater New Haven Columbus Day Parade, which steps off at 1 p.m. Oct. 8.

O’Brien has tapped residents Natalie Guiliano DeRosa, Grace Iannucci Hendricks and Marie D. Lacobelle to lead the procession as grand marshals.

Guiliano DeRosa and Lacobelle are former recipients of the West Haven Columbus Day Committee’s Italian-American of the Year award, with Guiliano DeRosa receiving the civic honor in 2014 and Lacobelle in 2015.

Iannucci Hendricks is a longtime member of the West Haven Italian-American Ladies Auxiliary.

The two-hour parade, which rotates among six municipalities, was previously held in the city in 2011 and 2006.

To march in the parade, click on Reservation Form.

For parade information, go to

West Haven sets summer concert series lineup

West Haven announces summer concert series lineup

WEST HAVEN, May 10, 2017 — The city’s summer concert series will kick off June 16 on the Green with ’60s rock music performed by Sixties Satisfaction, sponsored by West Haven Vietnam Veterans Inc.

The free concerts are scheduled from 7-9 p.m.

The annual Friday night concert series will follow June 23 with the Sounds of Frank Sinatra, sponsored by the Columbus Day Committee of Greater New Haven, and oldies by the Vinnie Carr Band June 30, both on the Green.

New York City Swing Band will play Motown standards July 7, followed by rhythm and blues classics by Latanya Farrell July 14, Top 40 gems by Timmy Maia Experience July 21 and country favorites by Midnight Rodeo Aug. 4, all in Old Grove Park.

The eclectic lineup will continue with ’60s, ’70s and ’80s rock anthems by Cover2Cover Aug. 11 and R&B hits by Shaded Soul Aug. 18, both in the Grove.

Concerts postponed by rain will move to the same time and venue the following Monday, except the Vinnie Carr Band, which has no rain date.

For rescheduling information, go to the Department of Parks and Recreation website,, or call 203-937-3677 after 4 p.m. the day of the concert.

Beautification Committee seeks volunteers, sets meeting

Beautification Committee seeks volunteers, schedules meeting

WEST HAVEN, April 18, 2017 — The West Haven Beautification Committee is seeking volunteers to help with planting and organizing community cleanups.

Committee Chairwoman Marilyn Wilkes will hold a meeting for new and current members from 7-8 p.m. May 18 in the basement conference room of City Hall, 355 Main St.

Those unable to make the meeting can join the committee by calling Wilkes at 203-415-4712.

The committee is composed of volunteers who plant flowers and care for designated locations across the city, including litter cleanups, during the spring and summer months.

“I believe that everyone can make a difference and everyone has a role to play in environmental stewardship,” said Wilkes, founder and president of the West Haven Community Garden, which is behind the former Molloy Elementary School at 255 Meloy Road. “From picking up a piece of trash you see on the street to caring for your home to planting gardens throughout the city to recycling — it all builds our sense of community and helps our city.”

Wilkes said several Saturday cleanups around the city in April, May and June have been organized and need volunteers:

—April 29, 9-10 a.m., Colonial Boulevard brook.

—May 13, 9-11 a.m., Savin Rock Beach and walkway, with Land Trust of West Haven.

—May 20, 9-10 a.m., Jones Hill Road.

—June 10, all day, “Keep Your Street Neat” Campbell Avenue event.

—June 17, 9-10 a.m., Minor Park area, Allingtown.

To sign up for a cleanup or for information, contact Stacey Giaquinto at or 203-494-5190.

Student participants will receive community service credit, said Wilkes, who sits on the Land Trust board of directors.

The committee welcomes input from residents about other areas needing attention, she said.

The committee can also help publicize resident-organized litter cleanups, Wilkes said.

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