City Notes
International Food & Fig Festival set for Saturday at Savin Rock

International Food & Fig Festival Saturday at Savin Rock

WEST HAVEN, Sept. 27, 2018 — The city is holding a new festival that will celebrate its diverse heritage of food while also commemorating the rich history of figs.

Yes, figs.

On Saturday, organizers will feature the popular fruit for the first time as part of the city’s International Food & Fig Festival on the lawn in front of Savin Rock, off Captain Thomas Boulevard.

A fig is an Asian species of flowering plant in the mulberry family that is widely grown worldwide, both for its fruit and as an ornamental plant.

The festival, set for 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., will showcase vendors buying, selling and trading figs or fig trees.

According to organizers, one participating vendor grows 350 varieties of fig trees; another grows 200 varieties.

The event will even include a fig demonstration, fig farmers market and fig tasting, organizers said.

“It is very exciting to have a new festival in the city that will celebrate West Haven culture, food and, of course, figs,” Mayor Nancy R. Rossi said.

The multicultural event will also include a DJ playing hit music and a smorgasbord of food vendors dishing up eats and sweets on the lawn of Savin Rock and in the parking lot of the nearby Savin Rock Conference Center, 6 Rock St.

Dr. Charles R. Vossbrinck, an associate agricultural scientist at the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station and a self-proclaimed fig enthusiast, will speak at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. about propagating and overwintering figs in the state.

“I look forward to connecting with the fig hobbyists at the festival and meeting with them once in a while,” said Vossbrinck, a molecular biologist who is running trials of five varieties of figs in a greenhouse at the station’s 75-acre research farm, Lockwood Farm, in Hamden.

Vossbrinck is growing the fig varieties in 25-gallon self-watering pots both outdoors and in high tunnels. The pots are stored indoors during the winter.

The station, based in New Haven and operated by the state, engages in scientific research and public outreach in agriculture and related fields. Founded in 1875, it is the oldest state experiment station in the U.S.

Vossbrinck and his team are also trying to grow figs outdoors, a difficult task because of Connecticut’s cold winters and the need to extend the growing season, he said.

Rossi said the festival is taking place at no cost to the city, thanks to private donations and sponsors.

Allingtown, West Haven senior centers mark 50 years

Elderly Services Director Sharon R. Mancini, right, receives a proclamation from Mayor Nancy R. Rossi recognizing the 50th anniversary of the Allingtown and West Haven senior centers during a luncheon Wednesday at the Cielo Banquet Ballroom. (City Photo/Michael P. Walsh)

Allingtown, West Haven senior centers mark 50 years

WEST HAVEN, Sept. 27, 2018 — Mayor Nancy R. Rossi and members of the city’s General Assembly delegation honored the 50th anniversary of the Allingtown and West Haven senior centers with fitting tributes during a luncheon Wednesday at the Cielo Banquet Ballroom.

Rossi presented a proclamation declaring the centers’ golden anniversary to Elderly Services Director Sharon R. Mancini in the company of more than 200 members, board officers, staff and volunteers gathered in the Chase Lane banquet hall.

Reading the proclamation, Rossi said, “Since 1968, our senior centers have empowered older residents by providing them with quality services to stay active and healthy, to continue learning, and to stay connected with friends and community members.”

Mancini, who has managed the centers for a quarter century, said they merged in June 2015 to form the Allingtown/West Haven Senior Center on the second floor of the Robert A. Johnson Noble Community Center, 201 Noble St.

“We now have one unified senior center, building on the past to create new beginnings,” Mancini said.

Mancini received a General Assembly citation marking the occasion from state Reps. Dorinda Borer, D-West Haven, Charles J. Ferraro, R-West Haven, and Michael A. DiMassa, D-West Haven, on behalf of the delegation. She also received a City Council citation from Chairman Ronald M. Quagliani, D-at large, and Councilwoman Robbin Watt Hamilton, D-5, on behalf of the council.

Members of both senior centers observed the milestone by dancing to the music of Vinnie Carr, who received a citation from Rossi for “providing musical entertainment for more than 40 years” for the centers.

Rossi, reading the citation, said, “On behalf of the countless seniors whose lives you have touched, we truly thank you for all the memories.”

The four-hour, afternoon event included congratulatory remarks from city Human Resources Commissioner Beth A. Sabo, who oversees the Department of Elderly Services. Sabo has been a city employee since 1977.

The West Haven Senior Center traces its beginning in 1968 to the First Congregational Church of West Haven on the downtown Green. A year later, space was made available in the basement of the then-newly built City Hall, 355 Main St., where the center operated until November 2003. It moved to the Johnson Community Center on Dec. 1, 2003.

The Allingtown Senior Center began in Allingtown fire headquarters, 20 Admiral St., before moving in 1977 to the then-newly renovated Allingtown Community Center, 1 Forest Road, where it remained until June 2015.

Vinne Carr

Vinnie Carr is presented with a citation from Mayor Rossi for “providing musical entertainment for more than 40 years” for the Allingtown and West Haven senior centers. (City Photo/Michael P. Walsh)

UNH commission, Watson aid WHEAT

UNH commission, Watson aid WHEAT

WEST HAVEN, Sept. 27, 2018 — Rose Majestic, executive director of the West Haven Emergency Assistance Task Force, second from right, receives an oversize check for $4,120 from Mayor Nancy R. Rossi, left, on Wednesday at WHEAT.

Joining the presentation are, from left, Westies Care Chairman Phil Liscio; Chris Haynes, adviser to the University of New Haven Mayor’s Advisory Commission; MAC Chairman Marcin Stankevitch; Moira Watson, vice president of marketing and communications at Watson Inc.; mayoral Executive Assistant Lou Esposito; and Christina Cole, marketing and communications assistant at Watson.

The money, raised by the UNH commission and Westies Care at the fourth annual WestFest celebration Sept. 8 on the Green, will benefit WHEAT’s food pantry at 674 Washington Ave., which provides meals for residents in need. Westies Care was aided by Vertical Church and the First Congregational Church of West Haven.

The donation will help WHEAT at a time when it is most needed by providing 100 items of food per week for a year, Majestic said.

The festival proceeds were generated from the sale of food, bracelets for inflatables and T-shirts, as well as from a dunk tank, and were matched by Watson, a major sponsor of WestFest.

Watson, founded in 1939 and based at 301 Heffernan Drive, is a high-quality supplier of products and services for enhancing human health and nutrition worldwide, including products and ingredient systems for the food and supplement industries.

WestFest is organized yearly by the MAC, a collaborative, student-driven task force formed in March 2015 to strengthen town-gown relations. The UNH commission is led by Stankevitch, a junior political science major, and Haynes, assistant professor of political science.

Westies Care Inc., a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit charity, was founded by Liscio in 2009 in memory of his son, Daniel L. Liscio, who died of diabetic shock more than a decade ago. To honor his undying spirit, the Liscio family established a scholarship program and organized community outreach projects in Daniel Liscio’s name.

(City Photo/Michael P. Walsh)

New sidewalks for arts center project

New sidewalks for arts center project

WEST HAVEN, Sept. 27, 2018 — Mayor Nancy R. Rossi, her executive assistant, Lou Esposito, and Public Works Commissioner Tom McCarthy look on as a concrete mixing truck prepares to pour concrete to lock in the newly installed precast concrete curbs for a sidewalk replacement in front of the long-planned arts center, the West Haven Center for the Arts, at 304 Center St. on Monday.

The work, which will include a horizontal inset of stamped concrete that resembles red brick pavers, is being done by West Haven’s sidewalk contractor, Elm City Materials Inc. of Spring Street, and supervised by city sidewalk inspector Ernie Chiarelli.

The new sidewalks are being financed with unused state Local Capital Improvement Program funds from previous years, which were discovered by Rossi’s administration.

Rossi said she is committed to moving the arts center project forward, saying a first-class cultural arts center would complement West Haven’s 5-year-old Metro-North Railroad commuter station and The Haven, a $200 million, 261,182-square-foot luxury outlet center, as destinations that drive economic development for the downtown business district.

(City Photo/Michael P. Walsh)

Rossi to appoint Playground Committee

Rossi to appoint committee for new Forest School playground project

WEST HAVEN, Sept. 27, 2018 — Mayor Nancy R. Rossi applauded the state Bond Commission for grants totaling $5.1 million at its Sept. 20 meeting. Included in the funding was $100,000 to construct a playground on the grounds of Forest Elementary School in Allingtown.

The playground is something the school’s PTA has requested for many years. Forest PTA President Carrie Malangone has been the driving force behind the project, along with state Rep. Michael A. DiMassa, D-West Haven.

Rossi will appoint a seven-member Playground Committee, which will consist of Malangone; Ken Carney, the city’s volunteer projects coordinator; Councilman Peter V. Massaro, D-6; Board of Education member Rosa Richardson; Forest Principal Thomas J. Hunt; Superintendent of Schools Neil C. Cavallaro; and Board of Education Facilities Coordinator Christopher P. Everone.

Rossi said the committee will ensure a transparent process and facilitate the installation of the playground.

“I am thrilled that the Bond Commission approved the funding for this much-needed project in Allingtown, and I look forward to seeing the playground installed at Forest Elementary School next year,” Rossi said. “I want to also thank our legislative delegation, including state Reps. Michael DiMassa, Dorinda Borer and Charles Ferraro and state Sens. Gayle Slossberg and Gary Holder-Winfield for their support.”

Rossi added, “We need to add more recreational facilities throughout the city for our younger generation, and this playground will provide a nice resource for them.”

$5M grant awarded to reconstruct Elm St. for The Haven

Mayor Nancy R. Rossi, right, on Sept. 20 announces $5 million in state funding with state Rep. Dorinda Borer, D-West Haven, left, for the reconstruction of Elm Street — the future entrance of The Haven, a $200 million, 261,182-square-foot luxury outlet center. Joining them are, from left, state Rep. Michael A. DiMassa, D-West Haven; Rossi’s executive assistant, Lou Esposito; state Rep. Charles J. Ferraro, R-West Haven; and Fred A. Messore, the city’s commissioner of planning and development. (City Photo/Michael P. Walsh)

$5M grant awarded to reconstruct Elm St. for The Haven

WEST HAVEN, Sept. 21, 2018 — State Rep. Dorinda Borer and Mayor Nancy R. Rossi, together with members of West Haven’s General Assembly delegation and city leaders, announced $5 million in state funding Sept. 20 for the reconstruction of Elm Street — the future entrance of The Haven, a $200 million, 261,182-square-foot luxury outlet center.

Borer and Rossi heralded the money during a news conference at Elm and Water streets shortly after it was authorized by the state Bond Commission. They were joined by state Reps. Michael A. DiMassa, D-West Haven, and Charles J. Ferraro, R-West Haven; Rossi’s executive assistant, Lou Esposito; and Fred A. Messore, the city’s commissioner of planning and development.

The funding, sought by West Haven officials for traffic improvements on Elm Street and public waterfront access near Water Street, is being allocated to the city through a grant from the Department of Economic and Community Development’s Urban Action Grant Program.

Officials said the traffic upgrades are aimed at supporting the framework for The Haven South Municipal Development Plan.

Borer and Rossi credited city grants writer Eileen M. Krugel for helping to secure the funding, which will widen the main corridor of Elm Street and replace traffic lights.

The Elm Street reconstruction also calls for paving and streetscaping near the project entrance, officials said.

Borer said that after a major traffic study, the funding was awarded to address the traffic flow.

“Securing state funding for this project was a bipartisan effort and a collective priority of the administration and delegation,” said Borer, D-West Haven, who represents the 115th District, which includes The Haven site. “I am thankful to all involved for recognizing the great potential we have here in West Haven.”

Borer added: “The Elm Street project is not just about building and improving the gateway to The Haven; this project is about the gateway to our city. Besides Lorenzo’s plaza, which is a diamond in the rough, the first impression when you come over the bridge and enter the city is not a good one, and changing that is long overdue. Cleaning up this area, widening Elm Street, putting in appropriate lanes and traffic signals, and paving will all have a significant impact not only on the functionality but will kick off a change in the image. It will also be more inviting to future developers throughout West Haven.”

The afternoon announcement was also attended by City Council Chairman Ronald M. Quagliani, D-at large; City Council Minority Leader Richard DePalma, R-at large; Councilman Peter V. Massaro, D-6; City Clerk Deborah Collins; city Treasurer Michael P. Last; city sidewalk inspector Ernie Chiarelli; former Mayor John M. Picard; and Krugel.

On May 21 at City Hall, world-renowned outlet mall developer Simon Property Group and its development partner, The Haven Group LLC, submitted their long-anticipated site plan to build “America’s first upscale waterfront outlet mall.”

The Haven, expected to break ground this year, will feature dozens of luxury retail shops, a 200-seat amphitheater, seven restaurants and a waterfront promenade in the 26-acre Water Street project area, which comprises 55 properties bounded by Main Street, First Avenue and Elm Street.

“West Haven appreciates the investment that this funding represents to our city and to the state,” Rossi said. “The $5 million that the Bond Commission approved supports important redevelopment. I am grateful to (Gov. Dannel P. Malloy), the commission and the West Haven delegation, especially Representative Borer, for their roles in securing this funding. Representative Borer has continuously advocated for this project in Hartford.”

Rossi added: “The future Haven South development will be enhanced by traffic improvements to Elm Street and access to our waterfront. These funds are for architectural, engineering and construction services — and we all know that this means jobs. I would also like to thank my chief of staff, Lou Esposito, and Commissioner Fred A. Messore for facilitating this project and former Mayors John Picard and Edward O’Brien for their work.”

DiMassa said, “These investments will improve our infrastructure and will be a catalyst for The Haven development, which is slated to bring hundreds of jobs and annual tax revenue to the city of West Haven.”

John P. Dionis, vice president of development for Simon Premium Outlets, based in Morristown, New Jersey, said: “The awarding of this grant by Governor Malloy and his administration is greatly appreciated as we continue to advance our transformational project, The Haven. Simon and The Haven Group also wish to thank the citizens of West Haven, Mayor Nancy Rossi, former Mayors Ed O’Brien and John Picard, and their administrations for their steadfast support of this development.”

Messore said: “Today is an exciting step moving this project forward and consistent with the efforts from 2003, when the city, under Mayor H. Richard Borer Jr., adopted the West River Municipal Development Plan in part to address the redevelopment of the area along the eastern gateway to the city of West Haven that borders the West River and to address the inefficiency of moving traffic along our roadway of Elm Street; more recently, with the site plan approval in July for The Haven high-end retail outlet. This bond allocation will assist with the costs associated with improvements to the roadway while staying consistent with the original mission of the Municipal Development Plan of 2003.”

City’s first Harbor Management Plan adopted

West Haven’s first Harbor Management Plan adopted

WEST HAVEN, Sept. 21, 2018 — The City Council enacted an ordinance Sept. 10 adopting the city’s first Harbor Management Plan.

The new ordinance made West Haven the 24th municipality in Connecticut to have an adopted plan for harbor management, according to David W. Killeen, assistant city planner.

The plan will guide the most appropriate uses of the city’s navigable waters and intertidal areas for recreational, commercial and conservation purposes, Killeen said.

“The city is pleased to join other Connecticut coastal communities that have taken steps to actively manage their harbor areas and shoreline,” Mayor Nancy R. Rossi said.

Killeen said the plan outlines goals, strategies, policies and recommendations for the beneficial use and conservation of the West Haven Harbor Management Area.

The area comprises the navigable waters and intertidal areas within the city’s municipal jurisdiction on the West River, New Haven Harbor, nearshore Long Island Sound, Old Field Creek, and the Cove and Oyster rivers.

The plan, initiated in 2014, was prepared by the Harbor Management Commission and its Westport coastal consultant, Geoffrey Steadman. The process included multiple meetings of the commission and public.

As required by state law, the plan was reviewed by state and federal agencies with jurisdiction over the harbor area, including the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection and the Army Corps of Engineers. The plan was modified during the process to reflect the agencies’ input.

“This is a very important step for the city,” commission Chairman Gene L. Pacapelli said. “We will now have input to the state and federal agencies that are making decisions on structures and dredging in the city’s navigable waters. Previously, the city had no role on those decisions.”

Pacapelli added, “We are extremely grateful to our consultant, Geoffrey Steadman, who was able to prepare a comprehensive plan for us.”

Another key aspect of the plan is that it will make the city more competitive for grants affecting the Harbor Management Area, Killeen said.

Earlier this year, the city received a grant from the Connecticut Port Authority to evaluate the potential for creating an improved public boat launch.

See the Harbor Management Plan.

West Haven Parent Support Groups set open house, resource fair

West Haven Parent Support Groups set open house, resource fair

WEST HAVEN, Sept. 21, 2018 — The West Haven Local System of Care’s Parent Support Groups will hold an open house and resource fair from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Oct. 17 at the West Haven Community House, 227 Elm St.

The event, sponsored by the West Haven Parent Support Group, Autism Family Support Group and Spanish Parent Support Group, will give families of children with special needs an opportunity to learn about new resources and services while meeting other families.

In addition to the three support groups, the fair will include representatives from the following organizations and agencies: ASD Fitness Center, Special Needs Undergraduate Swim Lessons, Connecticut Dental Health Partnership Family Services of Connecticut, Bridges HealthCare, Shoreline Center for Autism & Developmental Disorders, Yale Child Study Autism Program, Shoreline Behavioral Health & Wellness, Clifford Beers Marne Street Clinic, Behavioral Management, West Haven Police Department, The Kennedy Center, FAVOR, West Haven Pharmacy, and Kidsense.

Flu clinic on tap for Oct. 24 at Savin Rock Conference Center

Walk-in flu clinic on tap for Oct. 24 at Savin Rock Conference Center

WEST HAVEN, Sept. 19, 2018 — The Health Department will hold a flu clinic sponsored by the Orange Visiting Nurses Association for city residents from 9 a.m.-noon Oct. 24 at the Savin Rock Conference Center, 6 Rock St.

The walk-in clinic will accept the following insurances: Anthem, Medicare, Aetna and Connecticare.

Insurance carriers United Healthcare, Cigna, Oxford and Medicaid/Husky are not participating.

Residents should bring all insurance cards and wear a short-sleeved shirt.

People can also pay by cash or check.

Also, the private pay rate is $40 for a quadrivalent flu shot and $65 for a high-dose flu shot for those 65 or older.


Land damaged by Superstorm Sandy can be enrolled into easements

WEST HAVEN, Sept. 19, 2018 — The U.S. Agriculture Department is accepting a third round of applications from eligible landowners who want to sell the development rights of properties along Connecticut’s coastline that were damaged by Tropical Storm Irene and Superstorm Sandy in 2011 and 2012, respectively.

Funds are available through USDA’s Emergency Watershed Protection Floodplain Easements Program, which is managed by the Natural Resources Conservation Service, known as NRCS.

Applications are accepted through Oct. 10.

Read the official USDA News Release.

For more details, view the Emergency Watershed Protection Program Flyer.

City-Wide Open Studios

City-Wide Open Studios showcasing art projects in West Haven

WEST HAVEN, Sept. 19, 2018 — Artspace, the nerve center of New Haven’s contemporary arts scene, is pleased to announce the 21st year of City-Wide Open Studios with Wellbeing as its festival theme.

The single largest concentration of exhibiting artists statewide is unique in the region for bringing together more than 400 artists across a network of participating sites during the month of October.

Read the official City-Wide Open Studios News Release.

UI’s Vegetation Management Program resumes

UI’s Vegetation Program resumes

WEST HAVEN, Sept. 13, 2018 — The next phase of United Illuminating’s Vegetation Management Program kicked off Sept. 11 in Allingtown.

The five-year program, which began in 2014, is designed to reduce the amount of vegetation that UI says threatens power lines during storms.

UI is targeting trees and limbs within 8 feet of either side of power lines.

According to the Orange utility, tree reduction will increase public safety, reduce road blockage, improve roadside sight, and reduce tree-related power outages.

UI’s tree service contractor, Asplundh Tree Expert LLC of East Windsor, will not trim or remove privately owned trees without the owner’s consent, except when they are in contact with the utility’s energized conductors and present an imminent danger, UI said.

Trees on public property are under the control of West Haven’s tree warden, Leo Kelly.

Tom McCarthy, the city’s commissioner of public works, said Asplundh will remove all wood within 10 business days of pruning or removal.

The tree work, which was reviewed and approved by Kelly, will follow in the West Shore and Center districts and end in the spring, UI said.

Tree service crews, working from Orange trucks, will have police assigned for safety and traffic control.

See the list of streets affected by the Vegetation Management Program. Details at UI’s VMP.

RWA bringing advanced metering infrastructure to city

RWA bringing advanced metering infrastructure to West Haven

WEST HAVEN, Aug. 7, 2018 — About 13,000 Regional Water Authority customers in West Haven will have the water industry’s latest metering technology installed starting next month, joining the 50,000 customers in the RWA’s water district who have already received the upgrade.

The system will allow the RWA to accurately read customers’ water meters by securely transmitting a low-powered signal from an AMI endpoint, a small device connected to the meter, to the RWA’s office.

The technology will upgrade how the RWA receives water consumption information, eliminate the need for manually reading customers’ meters, provide early detection of water leaks, and largely eliminate estimated water bills.

The RWA will deploy the new metering system to every customer in its 15-town service area over the next two years.

The RWA hired Contract Callers Inc., or CCI, to install the new advanced meter reading devices. Installation generally takes less than an hour and involves attaching the AMI endpoint to the customer’s existing water meter, usually where the existing meter reading device is located.

Read the official RWA News Release.

Watch the RWA Advanced Metering Infrastructure video on the official RWA YouTube channel.

For more information, visit the RWA website at or the CCI website at

Farmers market

Farmers market open Thursdays, Saturdays on West Haven Green

WEST HAVEN, July 30, 2018 — The Tony Inzero Farmers Market is open for its 19th season on the Green.

Through Oct. 27, the market at Main Street and Campbell Avenue features state farmers selling homegrown fruits and vegetables from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursdays and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays.

It includes crafters selling their wares.

The Thursday markets showcase food trucks, including 744 Express and Spuds Your Way, dishing up such savory favorites as baked potatoes, lobster rolls and pulled pork sandwiches. Each truck offers a weekly special.

Farmers market

Farmers market vouchers available

WEST HAVEN, July 20, 2018 — Farmers market vouchers are available at the West Haven/Allingtown Senior Center, 201 Noble St.

To receive $18 in vouchers, the income limits for those at least 60 years old are $30,451 per year, or $2,537 per month, for a married couple and $22,459 per year, or $1,871 per month, for a single person.

Each voucher booklet contains six $3 vouchers.

When picking up the vouchers, eligible residents must show proof of income and sign a receipt confirming they meet the income guidelines. For proof of income, residents can show a gray Connect Card from the state.

The Tony Inzero Farmers Market is on the Green from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursdays and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays through Oct. 27.

For information about the voucher program, call the Department of Elderly Services at 203-937-3507.

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