City Notes

WestFest on tap 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday on West Haven Green

WEST HAVEN, Sept. 1, 2017 — The third annual WestFest celebration, a community event aimed at bringing the city and University of New Haven closer, is set for 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday on the Green.

WestFest is co-sponsored by the UNH Mayor’s Advisory Commission, Mayor Edward M. O’Brien’s office, UNH, Watson Inc. and the West Haven Emergency Assistance Task Force to showcase what the city has to offer culturally.

View the official event program at WestFest 2017.

Restaurants and food trucks will dish up native eats and sweets, and businesses and organizations will hand out informational materials.

The seven-hour festival will feature activities from face painting and trivia contests to performances by the Top Hat Dance Academy and a pie-eating contest sponsored by Louise’s Homemade Food & Baked Goods. It will include an inflatable bounce house and obstacle course.

Also participating are the local bands Ian Biggs, Quiet Giant, and The Sulls.

The UNH advisory commission, a student-appointed task force formed in March 2015, meets regularly with O’Brien and other City Hall officials to improve relations between the city and UNH.

West Haven observing 9/11 with flag-raising, candlelight vigil

West Haven observing 9/11 with flag-raising, candlelight vigil

WEST HAVEN, Sept. 1, 2017 — West Haven will observe the 16th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on 9/11 with a flag-raising ceremony at 6:30 p.m. at the Bradley Point Park flagpole, followed by a candlelight vigil at the city’s 9/11 memorial.

The service will begin with a presentation of the colors by the West Haven Police Color Guard and the flag-raising by the West Haven Fire Department Honor Guard and the New Haven County Firefighters Emerald Society Pipes and Drums.

The flag-raising will honor the memory of the nearly 3,000 people who were killed in the attacks.

Remarks from dignitaries, including Mayor Edward M. O’Brien, will follow.

At 7 p.m., the candlelight vigil will take place at the Richard S. Gabrielle Sept. 11 memorial on the beach walk next to the Savin Rock Conference Center, 6 Rock St.

Members of the Rotary Club will distribute candles and programs.

Gabrielle was West Haven’s lone victim of the attack on the twin towers in New York’s World Trade Center complex. An insurance broker at Aon Corp., Gabrielle, 50, was last seen on the south tower’s 78th floor.

Declared Patriot Day by Congress in 2002, the city will fly flags at half-staff in recognition of the national day of remembrance.

The vigil will feature taps played by former West Shore Fire Department Lt. Kevin McKeon and a Celtic folk performance by Irish singer-songwriter Liz McNicholl, including the song “The Bravest,” a tribute to the heroes of 9/11.

Nora Mullins and Grace Kelly Nowak will sing the national anthem and “God Bless America,” respectively.


West Haven collecting recyclable electronic items 8 a.m.-noon Sept. 30

WEST HAVEN, Sept. 1, 2017 — Residents can drop off electronic recyclables — typically anything that contains a circuit board or needs a battery — from 8 a.m.-noon Sept. 30 at the highway maintenance garage, 1 Collis St.

Anything that has refrigerant, including air conditioners and dehumidifiers, is not accepted. Those items are considered white goods, and residents are asked to put them out for pickup on their weekly curbside collection days.

More details at E-waste Drop-off.

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

Wooster Square

Tour of Wooster Square steps off at 1 p.m. Sept. 16 in New Haven

WEST HAVEN, Sept. 1, 2017 — The Columbus Day Committee of Greater New Haven will present a “Guided Walking Tour of Wooster Square” at 1 p.m. Sept. 16.

The tour, led by Christopher Wigren of the New Haven Preservation Trust and Robert Grzywacz, will meet at the statue of Christopher Columbus on Chapel Street in New Haven.

Details at Wooster Square Tour.

‘Learn for Laci’ CPR training session set for Sept. 7

‘Learn for Laci’ CPR training session set for Sept. 7 at Savin Rock center

WEST HAVEN, Sept. 1, 2017 — The American Heart Association is holding a free CPR training session from 4-8 p.m. Sept. 7 at the Savin Rock Conference Center, 6 Rock St.

Open to the public, the “Learn for Laci” training session is aimed at giving people the tools to help save a life.

Details at Learn for Laci.

Groundbreaking heralds new West Haven High School

City and school leaders and state officials throw shovels of dirt Aug. 22 to mark the symbolic groundbreaking of the city's new $129.9 million, state-of-the-art West Haven High School at 1 McDonough Plaza. From left, state Sen. Gayle Slossberg, D-Milford, state Rep. Dorinda Borer, D-West Haven, Mayor Edward M. O'Brien, Superintendent of Schools Neil C. Cavallaro, Board of Education Chairman James W. Morrissey, West Haven High School Building Committee Chairman William Sapienza, committee Vice Chairman Richard Shea, committee Secretary and West Haven High Principal Pamela B. Gardner, Antinozzi Associates President Paul Antinozzi, and David O'Brien, Sumedha Chowdhury and Julia Walker, student representatives to the Board of Education. (City Photo/Michael P. Walsh)

Groundbreaking heralds new West Haven High School

WEST HAVEN, Aug. 23, 2017 — City and school leaders and state officials threw shovels of dirt Aug. 22 to mark the symbolic groundbreaking of the city’s new state-of-the-art West Haven High School at 1 McDonough Plaza.

To the sound of applause from an enthusiastic gathering of residents, students and teachers at the main entrance loop, Mayor Edward M. O’Brien and Superintendent of Schools Neil C. Cavallaro officially — and finally — broke ground on the $129.9 million high school construction project, which has been nine years in the making.

As work continued on parts of the school getting the sidewalks and parking areas ready for the start of classes, the 15-minute ceremony featured remarks from O’Brien and Cavallaro and included dozens of city and school officials, such as members of the City Council, Board of Education and West Haven High School Building Committee, as well as state Sen. Gayle Slossberg, D-Milford, state Reps. Dorinda Borer and Michael A. DiMassa, D-West Haven, and members of the project team.

“As the father of a current West Haven High School student and a West Haven High School graduate, I understand that our students deserve the best possible education, and that starts with having the best facilities,” O’Brien said after the groundbreaking.

“Our teachers should not have to worry about building maintenance issues getting in the way of teaching their students,” O’Brien said. “A new and improved high school ensures they can focus all of their attention on educating our children.”

He added, “The new high school preserves the entire shops program, allowing our students to gain hands-on experience and have more choices for their future.”

Cavallaro said: “This state-of-the-art facility is going to be good not only for our students and staff but for the entire community of West Haven. We will do everything we can to make sure students will not be disturbed during the construction.”

Slossberg added: “Thank you to the building committee and everyone who worked on this project, particularly the mayor. We look forward to the ribbon-cutting when the project is completed on time and underbudget.”

Borer said, “We know when a lot families are looking to move into a community, the first thing they look at is the education, and West Haven will have a competitive, state-of-the-art facility.”

Designed by Antinozzi Associates of Bridgeport to accommodate 1,450 students, plans for the future high school include renovating about 98,000 square feet of the existing building, demolishing the remainder, and adding just over 168,000 square feet of new construction. The total finished project has an area of 265,959 square feet, officials said.

The completed school will offer a cutting-edge media center, advanced STEM — science, technology, engineering and math — classrooms and laboratories, and upgraded public areas for the school and community. It will also offer enhanced access and security and lower maintenance and operating costs.

The existing building, built in 1960, encompasses 298,000 square feet and serves 1,500 students. The brick structure received limited system updates and accessibility upgrades in 1968, 1985, 1991, 1995, 2000 and 2005, officials said.

The 22-acre campus is divided by Educational Way and bounded on the north by Edward L. Bennett Rink, to the east by Painter Avenue, and to the west by the Cove River.

While the high school pool is excluded from the project, plans call for removing an existing covered walkway and adding perimeter sidewalks, parking and site grading.

O’Brien and Cavallaro said the project’s construction phase, also known as Phase III, will consist of three major “subphases” to allow the school to offer a full academic curriculum throughout the project.

Gilbane Building Co. of Glastonbury is the project’s construction manager, with Amar Shamas serving as the project executive. The Capitol Region Education Council of Hartford, or CREC, is overseeing the construction financing, with Elizabeth Craun serving as the construction program manager.

The state’s reimbursement rate is 75.36 percent, and state officials have been working closely with the team to make the project a success, Craun said.

The City Council recently adopted a bonding ordinance worth $133.25 million to finance West Haven’s portion of the project cost.

Craun said the construction phase is expected to begin in April 2018 and take about three years to complete, with a projected occupancy of new spaces in fall 2019 through 2021. Site restoration work is expected to continue until spring 2022, she said.

The project’s first subphase includes constructing the food services, building services, tech-ed shops, media center, auditorium, music and arts classrooms, and administrative offices to permit the transferal of building uses, thereby opening other parts of the existing building for renovation or demolition.

During the fall, crews are expected to complete a temporary space for tech-ed shops in the existing auxiliary gym to clear the way for the environmental abatement and demolition of the existing G wing in early 2018.

The second subphase calls for renovating the existing eastern three-story building after demolishing the existing cafeteria and media center.

The third subphase includes demolishing the existing auditorium and music spaces, renovating the northern wing of academic spaces, and demolishing the existing gym and southern academic building.

When complete, the new high school will incorporate two buildings, divided into north and south commons.

The north commons, composed of about 154,000 square feet, will contain primarily assembly spaces, while the south commons, consisting of about 112,000 square feet, will include mainly classroom and faculty office spaces.

The West Haven High School Building Committee comprises Chairman William Sapienza, Vice Chairman Richard Shea, Secretary and West Haven High Principal Pamela B. Gardner, Finance Subcommittee Chairman Steven R. Mullins, Michael Betz, Assistant Building Official Richard Boyne, Peter Cordone, Fire Marshal Keith T. Flood of the West Haven Fire Department, Anthony Giordano, James Greenberg, Board of Education member Mark P. Palmieri, Emergency Management Director Robert S. Schwartz, Daria Weible, Steven Wydra and Ian Ackbarali.

Home makeover

Home makeover

WEST HAVEN, Aug. 23, 2017 — From left, Mayor Edward M. O’Brien, contractor Anthony Cordone and Planning and Development Commissioner Joseph A. Riccio Jr. on Aug. 21 stand in front of a Cape Cod-style house at 43 Linden St. that Cordone recently refurbished, an example of the unique partnership between the city and local contractors to improve West Haven’s aging housing stock.

Four years ago, the city foreclosed on the single-family home as well as a single-family home at 41 Harold St. that contractor Brian Banning has since remodeled.

After assuming ownership of the severely blighted homes, the city put the properties out to bid, with Cordone obtaining the Linden Street bid for $52,000 and Banning securing the Harold Street bid for $55,000.

Cordone and Banning, known for building single-family homes in West Haven, then gutted the houses, giving them an extensive interior and exterior makeover — complete with such modern amenities as granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, hardwood flooring, and vinyl siding and windows.

O’Brien said the upgrades have significantly increased the value of the properties, which are listed for sale, while growing the city’s grand list of taxable property.

(City Photo/Michael P. Walsh)

O’Brien hosting panel discussion on old Savin Rock

Artwork/Tony Ruggiero

O’Brien hosting panel discussion on old Savin Rock amusement park

WEST HAVEN, Aug. 18, 2017 — A three-person panel hosted by Mayor Edward M. O’Brien will discuss “Memories of Savin Rock Amusement Park” from 6-8 p.m. Sept. 28 at the Main Library, 300 Elm St.

The free event, presented by the Columbus Day Committee of Greater New Haven and Sons and Daughters of Italy Lodge 37, will include a presentation and a reception with refreshments.

The panel is composed of Natalie Guiliano DeRosa, William S. “Wiggy” Johnson Jr., former chief of the West Haven Fire Department, and Harold M. Peschell, former owner of Peschell’s Pastry Shop.

Details at Savin Rock.

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