City Notes
Demolition phase jump-starts The Haven

As water is sprayed to control dust and other particles, an excavator from LVI Environmental Services Inc./Northstar Contracting Group Inc. tears down the front second-floor wall of a house at 53 Main St. on Thursday as part of the demolition phase for The Haven luxury fashion outlet mall. LVI, based in Milford, is a subcontractor of Standard Builders of Newington. (City Photo/Michael P. Walsh)

Demolition phase jump-starts The Haven

WEST HAVEN, Oct. 20, 2017 — The long-anticipated demolition phase for The Haven kicked off Thursday with the razing of a house at Main Street and First Avenue, Mayor Edward M. O’Brien announced.

The house, 53 Main St., was the first of four houses taken down for the initial phase by The Haven Group LLC to clear the way for “America’s first upscale waterfront outlet mall,” said Matt Armstrong, executive vice president of The Haven Group.

Armstrong said the work is being done by LVI Environmental Services Inc./Northstar Contracting Group Inc. of Milford, a subcontractor of Standard Builders of Newington.

The demolition was preceded by an environmental remediation of the house by LVI, which included asbestos removal, he said.

City Planning and Development Commissioner Joseph A. Riccio Jr. said The Haven Group recently obtained the demolition permit for 53 Main St., valued around $1,000, from the Building Department and is in the process of securing three additional permits to start razing the more than 50 properties acquired by the Dallas-based development company for the $200 million project.

The other addresses are 315-317 First Ave., 321 First Ave. and 325 First Ave.

LVI foreman Rich Meehan said the house at 315-317 First Ave. is being abated and is slated for demolition next week, followed by the other two First Avenue houses.

Meehan said phase two of the demolition is expected to target the buildings on Water Street, including the former Bilco Co.

“We are all very excited that The Haven is moving forward as scheduled and is humming with activity,” O’Brien said. “The people of West Haven will now see a tangible path of progress aimed at building a brighter future for this proud neighborhood and our great city.”

Armstrong said, “This is an important milestone in the development of The Haven, and I am excited to see our vision begin to take shape.”

Developer Ty Miller is preparing to build dozens of luxury retail shops, a 200-seat amphitheater, seven restaurants and a waterfront promenade in the 24-acre Water Street project area, which comprises 55 properties bounded by Main Street, First Avenue and Elm Street.

The development, known as The Haven South, includes no housing, said Armstrong, adding that the City Council-adopted Haven South Municipal Development Plan, or MDP, prohibits housing.

Armstrong said negotiations have concluded between The Haven Group and the owners of the two remaining properties. The developer and the property owners are preparing closing documents and are scheduling closings in the near future, he said.

Armstrong said the developer has spent more than $30 million so far on the privately financed development, which he has compared to the top 20 percent of the retail stores that constitute Woodbury Common Premium Outlets in Central Valley, New York, about 50 miles north of New York City.

“We are committed to the city of West Haven,” Armstrong told a group of 25 city leaders, including police and fire officials, during O’Brien’s department head meeting April 7 at City Hall. “We don’t want to walk away from a ($30 million) investment.”

Armstrong has cited the site’s proximity to interstates 95 and 91 and the Merritt and Wilbur Cross parkways and the West Haven train station, along with its visibility from I-95, as the driving factors why the developers selected West Haven for the project.

The 250,000-square-foot development is expected to feature 60 upscale fashion outlet stores.

Armstrong said the project is poised to create up to 800 full- and part-time jobs, as well as hundreds of construction jobs, and to generate $2 million in annual property tax revenue for the city.

“This will be a luxury waterfront shopping destination, which makes it unique,” he said at the April meeting.

The Haven is expected to make West Haven a major destination in the Northeast, much like in its heyday of Savin Rock Park. The former amusement hub was the city’s main shoreline attraction and economic resource for decades until its demise in 1966.

The Haven is also the largest-scale development in West Haven since the construction of Dome Laboratories, which later became Miles Laboratories, on the old Rully pig farm in the 1960s. The Morgan Lane site was expanded into Orange in the 1990s by Bayer Corp., becoming the 136.4-acre Bayer HealthCare complex, and became the Yale University West Campus in 2007.

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Energy Manager Today plugs city for switching to LED streetlights

Energy Manager Today plugs city for switching to LED streetlights

WEST HAVEN, Oct. 20, 2017 — West Haven is the featured news story on the website and e-newsletter Energy Manager Today for its partnership with United Illuminating to convert the city’s 4,388 streetlights to environmentally friendly LED lighting, a move that will conserve energy while saving taxpayers an estimated $338,000 a year in electrical costs.

According to the article, “Connecticut Town Goes LED, Saving $338,000 Per Year,” “Officials in West Haven, Connecticut, are announcing the town will save $338,000 per year in electrical costs as a result of switching to LED street lights.”

The story was written by staff writer Emily Holbrook and published Wednesday.

The article goes on to say: “Converting to LED streetlights has become a common move among energy efficient cities. Just this week, officials in Portland, Maine, announced the city would be switching to LED streetlights. And in August, Phoenix officially began its city-wide initiative to replace all 90,000 street lights — plus lighting at its park facilities — with LED bulbs. By replacing all existing street lights with LED bulbs, the city expects to achieve a total net savings of approximately $22 million through 2030.”

Energy Manager Today, owned by Business Sector Media LLC and based in Fort Collins, Colorado, “is the leading daily trade publication keeping corporate executives responsible for procuring and managing energy fully informed.”

According to its website, “Many of Energy Manager Today’s readers are energy directors and managers, developing, implementing and overseeing comprehensive enterprise-wide energy strategies for plants, retail and restaurant locations, distribution centers, corporate and government facilities and public spaces in order to reduce energy consumption and energy costs.

“Others are plant and facility managers, maintenance directors, engineers, buildings and systems directors, operation managers, energy analysts, construction managers, procurement directors and utilities managers recommending, specifying and buying energy-related equipment such as HVAC, lighting, building envelope, control systems, boilers, industrial systems, CHP, energy storage and backup power systems.”

Read the full story at Energy Manager Today.

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Flashlight Halloween Haunt set for Painter Park playground

Flashlight Halloween Haunt set for Painter Park playground

WEST HAVEN, Oct. 20, 2017 — The Department of Parks and Recreation is holding its annual Flashlight Halloween Haunt Oct. 26 at the Painter Park wooden playground on Kelsey Avenue. The rain date is Oct. 27.

The event, for city residents, includes a candy corn guess and a contest for best costume. Trick-or-treaters must bring a flashlight and a candy bag to search for ghoulish goodies.

Prizes are awarded for best costume in each age group.

The hunt schedule is 6:05 p.m., ages 3 and younger; 6:25 p.m., ages 4-5; 6:45 p.m., ages 6-7; and 6:55 p.m., ages 8-12.

Participants should register 10 minutes before their hunt time and must show proof of residence. Only one adult may assist a child in the hunt for ages 3 and under; all other age groups hunt unassisted.

Trick-or-treaters are asked to bring nonperishable items for the West Haven Emergency Assistance Task Force, which provides food for residents in need.

‘A Brief History of West Haven’ chronicles city from 1986

Author and city historian Jon E. Purmont, left, presents a copy of "A Brief History of West Haven, Conn., 1986-2017" to Mayor Edward M. O'Brien on Oct. 12 at City Hall. (City Photo/Michael P. Walsh)

‘A Brief History of West Haven’ chronicles city from 1986

WEST HAVEN, Oct. 13, 2017 — Mayor Edward M. O’Brien received a freshly pressed copy of “A Brief History of West Haven, Conn., 1986-2017” from author and city historian Jon E. Purmont during a presentation Oct. 12 at City Hall.

Purmont, who wrote and edited the narrative, chronicled the city’s annals from 1986 through 2017.

He was assisted by West Haven scribes Diane Dorman Arduini, Susan Walker and William J. Heffernan III, who contributed the sections “Cove River Archaeology Site,” “Public Education” and “West Haven Fire Service,” respectively.

“I want to thank and commend Jon, along with Diane, Bill and Susan, for collecting this essential information and continuing the story of our great city for the enjoyment of future generations,” said O’Brien, who had commissioned Purmont, president of the West Haven Historical Society, to compose an updated history of the city.

Two years in the making, Purmont’s 31-page booklet is now the authorized follow-up to “A Brief History of West Haven, Conn.: Celebrating 25 Years as a City,” the 16-page “little blue booklet” penned in 1986 by then-city historian Harriet C. North and Bennett W. Dorman, who later succeeded North as West Haven’s history curator.

The new booklet, published Oct. 6 by the central services office at City Hall, contains color photos taken by various photographers, including Dan Shine and Michael P. Walsh, the city’s public relations information coordinator.

The layout was done by city Information Technology Manager David W. Richards.

The booklet, also printed on light blue cover stock, is available for free in the mayor’s office on the third floor of City Hall, 355 Main St., and at the Historical Society’s Poli House headquarters, 686 Savin Ave.

In addition to covering major economic development, expansion and redevelopment projects from the past 30 years, including the opening of the $130 million Metro-North Railroad commuter station in 2013, the booklet details important events, the burgeoning presence of the University of New Haven and Yale University, and “Emergency Services,” such as the city’s takeover of the Allingtown Fire District in 2012 and renaming the department the City of West Haven Fire Department Allingtown.

It documents the multimillion-dollar redevelopment of Sawmill Road, a strip of hotels, retail stores and restaurants; the recently opened Atwood, an $18 million, 90,150-square-foot apartment and commercial development on Boston Post Road; and the highly anticipated Haven South, a $200 million, 250,000-square-foot luxury fashion outlet mall on Water Street.

The booklet also catalogs a comprehensive reference list of former and current mayors, police chiefs and fire chiefs, both paid and volunteer, in the appendix.

In the booklet’s conclusion, Purmont, an emeritus professor of history at Southern Connecticut State University, wrote: “This brief history of West Haven reveals a vibrant and vigorous city moving forward to meet the challenges of the twenty-first century. It is a community which has evolved from a small farming village established in 1648, to a dynamic, forward looking, diverse community of over 50,000 citizens.”

“The many strengths of West Haven — its people, its expanding service-based economy, and its commitment to providing opportunity for all its citizens — are outstanding characteristics of this community,” he wrote.

Purmont further wrote, “The future of one of Connecticut’s oldest settlements and newest municipalities is hopeful and full of promise.”

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Upgrade to LED streetlights will save city about $338K a year

Upgrade to LED streetlights will save West Haven about $338K a year

WEST HAVEN, Oct. 10, 2017 — United Illuminating is converting the city’s 4,388 streetlights to environmentally friendly LED lighting, a move that will conserve energy while saving taxpayers an estimated $338,000 a year in electrical costs, Mayor Edward M. O’Brien announced.

O’Brien said UI is replacing the city’s existing high-pressure sodium streetlights with LED, or light-emitting diode, technology to provide a more energy-efficient, cost-effective product.

The Orange-based utility, which owns and maintains West Haven’s streetlights, is performing the work at no additional cost to the city, he said.

“I am extremely excited about the agreement we reached with UI to upgrade our city’s streetlights,” O’Brien said. “These new lights will improve our infrastructure, save us approximately $338,000 every year, and cost our taxpayers nothing. This is clearly a total win for West Haven.”

State Rep. Dorinda Borer, D-West Haven, added: “The 3,000 Kelvin color temperature LED option was chosen because it will still keep our streets properly illuminated for safety purposes but, at the same time, will do it in a way that is both environmentally friendly and healthy. The softer version will still keep with the integrity and feel of the neighborhoods. It’s not only a financial win, it’s a quality-of-life win.”

On Sept. 26, O’Brien signed a UI streetlight conversion contract calling for the utility to retrofit the city’s existing cobra-head streetlight fixtures and replace their existing high-pressure sodium lights with brighter, high-efficiency LED lights.

“We’re excited about this opportunity to help West Haven reduce its energy costs while providing high-quality, efficient LED lighting for city streets,” said Roddy Diotalevi, senior director of sales and external relations for UI. “Upgrading to LED street lighting is just one of the ways UI and its parent company, Avangrid Inc., are using technology to improve people’s lives and reduce harmful impacts on the environment.”

In late 2015, the city converted the interior and exterior lights to LED at its Beach Street wastewater treatment plant and 13 pumping stations.

O’Brien said the LED lights use significantly less energy than the high-pressure sodium lights they are replacing, reducing the city’s energy costs and contribution to global warming.

The retrofit and installation of the new lights is expected to begin in early 2018, he said.

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