City Notes

Moody’s upgrades West Haven’s bond rating outlook to ‘stable’

WEST HAVEN, July 31, 2019 — Moody’s Investors Service on Tuesday affirmed West Haven’s credit rating at Baa3 while upgrading its outlook on the city to “stable” from “negative,” Mayor Nancy R. Rossi announced.

In its bond credit analysis, Moody’s said the revised rating outlook “reflects West Haven’s stabilizing financial position and the effectiveness of the financial and administrative oversight provided by the State of Connecticut’s Municipal Accountability Review Board (MARB).”

“I am very pleased with Moody’s removing the negative outlook and upgrading the city of West Haven to a stable outlook,” Rossi said. “We need to continue the progress and improve our overall bond rating. That will take some time, but this is a step in the right direction.”

The mayor continued: “We have stabilized our financial situation and are making the tough budget decisions that are necessary for future success. The change in the outlook may seem minor, but it could save West Haven taxpayers up to 25 basis points, or a 0.25 percentage point, on future bonding. This outlook upgrade is very important.”

In its report, the New York agency also credits the increase in West Haven’s grand list valuations and progress toward structural balance despite the city receiving state restructuring funds.

“The stable outlook reflects our expectation that West Haven, under the supervision of the MARB, will adhere to its 5-year recovery plan and continue to make incremental progress towards structural balance and building fund balance over the outlook period,” the report said.

“We have spent much of the past 20 months dealing with serious budget issues and marketing and attracting new economic development opportunities for the city,” Rossi said. “West Haven is on the right path forward, and I am looking forward to working with the MARB and the City Council to continue the progress.”

Cove River

City poet laureate hosting poetry reading Aug. 19 at Main Library

WEST HAVEN, July 31, 2019 — Tony Fusco, the city’s poet laureate, will host a poetry reading from 6-7 p.m. Aug. 19 at the Main Library, 300 Elm St.

Fusco, a lifelong resident who in April was appointed the honorary position of poet laureate by Mayor Nancy R. Rossi, will read poems from his upcoming books, “Westies” and “Don’t Make Me Laugh.”

The free event, open to the public, will include light refreshments and an open microphone after the reading.

See the Flyer.

As the city’s first official poet, Fusco will appear at readings and conduct workshops as an advocate for the reading and writing of poetry.

He has written four books of poetry, including “Java Scripture,” featuring poems about his youth, Savin Rock and Allingtown. His poetry has won many awards, including the Sunken Garden Poetry Prize.

A graduate of West Haven High School, Fusco has a master’s degree in creative writing from Southern Connecticut State University and is co-president of the Connecticut Poetry Society.

‘Christmas in July’ toy drive extended

‘Christmas in July’ toy drive extended

WEST HAVEN, July 31, 2019 — Painter Park Day Camp participant Amelie Choiniere, 7, of West Haven, drops off a donation Friday for the Department of Parks and Recreation’s “Christmas in July” toy drive. The department is now accepting donations through Aug. 9.

Park-Rec is co-sponsoring the toy drive with the Connecticut Recreation & Parks Association and Christmas Wish CT, a charity committed to sharing the spirit of Christmas year-round.

The department aims to collect 1,200 new, unwrapped toys at its Painter Park office, 190 Kelsey Ave., as well as at its camp and playground programs and swimming pool venues.

Park-Rec will donate a portion of the collected toys to Christmas toy drives held by West Haven Professional Fire Fighters Local 1198 and the West Haven High School Peer Advocacy Program for residents in need.

The rest of the toys will benefit Christmas Wish’s Annual Christmas Party. The volunteer charitable organization will distribute the toys to local children and families.

(City Photo/Diane Dietman)

West Haven sets lineup for Summer Concert Series

The Signature Band plays concert series Thursday night

WEST HAVEN, July 31, 2019 — The West Haven Summer Concert Series continues on the Green at 7 p.m. Thursday with dance rock anthems performed by The Signature Band.

The two-hour concert is free.

The Thursday night series will follow Aug. 8 with rhythm and blues and classic rock hits by The Nu Groove, also on the Green.

The lineup will continue with R&B, funk and reggae favorites by Le’Mixx Band on Aug. 15 in Old Grove Park.

See the Flyer.

Concerts postponed by rain will move to the same time and venue the following Monday.

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

West Haven United

Meet city’s Audubon WildLife Guards

WEST HAVEN, July 26, 2019 — Starting in 2017, a group of eight West Haven High School students has helped monitor and protect the beach-nesting birds at the Sandy Point Beach & Bird Sanctuary.

Thanks to a grant from Audubon Connecticut, students in the paid seven-week program record the nesting and survival of piping plovers, American oystercatchers, least terns and common terns, keeping track of other birds species along the way.

Corrie Folsom-O’Keefe, program coordinator of the Audubon “Important Bird Area,” manages the Audubon WildLife Guards Program, and Genevieve Nuttall is the Audubon staff member assigned to the Sandy Point effort.

This year, under the leadership of Alfred Green and Victor Sieh, a West Haven High graduate and former WildLife Guard, the crew includes two graduating seniors, Daniela Morales and Mathew Wahl; two seniors, Noah Anderson and Samiyah Sutherland; and four juniors. Three of the juniors — Kyle Burt, James Weber and Anthony Pacheco — owe their participation to classmate Rianne Mustafa, who participated in the program last year thanks to the encouragement of a friend.

The guards not only keep track of nesting sites, they also help make information at Sandy Point more accessible to visitors. Although the students were aware of the area before working with Audubon, all agree the job has given them a new appreciation for birdlife and West Haven’s connection to one of its most valuable resources.

Be sure to follow their weekly reports at Sandy Point Beach & Bird Sanctuary.

Learn more about the WildLife Guards Program at Wildlife Guards and on Facebook.

Audubon I
Audubon II

Audubon Connecticut WildLife Guards educate the public about the beach-nesting birds at the Sandy Point Beach & Bird Sanctuary. The group of West Haven High School students helps monitor and protect the “Important Bird Area” as part of the WildLife Guards Program, a paid seven-week program made possible by an Audubon grant. (Contributed Photos)


Applications available for community development programs

WEST HAVEN, July 26, 2019 — The Community Development Administration is accepting applications for a down payment assistance program for first-time homebuyers.

To qualify for the forgivable loan program, applicants must buy a single-family house or condominium in West Haven and live in the home for five years. The loan is then abated at a rate of 20% annually and forgiven after the fifth year.

Eligibility for assistance is based on the income and number of members of an applicant’s household, according to guidelines set by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Applicants must provide 3% of the purchase price from their own funds. CDA will then match $2 for every dollar up to $7,500.

Also, CDA is accepting applications for rehabilitation projects for owner-occupied single-family homes and owner-occupied multifamily homes.

Funds for CDA-approved rehab projects can be used to correct code violations or make structural improvements in homes. Cosmetic work does not qualify.

Eligibility for assistance is based on HUD income limits.

Applications for the programs are available by contacting CDA administrative assistant Rosa Richardson at 203-937-3550 or Anyone with questions can call the same number.

State Farm

State Farm opens Allingtown insurance office

WEST HAVEN, July 25, 2019 — Mayor Nancy R. Rossi, holding oversize scissors, cuts the ribbon July 23 with State Farm agent Derwin A. Griffith, third from right, to celebrate the ceremonial opening of the insurance company’s new Allingtown office at 444 Forest Road.

Also marking the event are, from left, State Farm account managers Cyndal Golbeck and Shakira Rodriguez; City Council Minority Leader Richard DePalma, R-at large; Griffith’s friend and mentor, Leroy Addison; Rossi’s executive assistant, Lou Esposito; and State Farm account manager Ashley G. Sanchez.

The independently owned office, based in the Oronoque Forest Centre, specializes in a full range of insurance, including policies for auto, home and property, life, health, disability, small business, liability, and identity restoration. It also provides financial services, such as banking and investment options.

Founded in 1922, State Farm is the largest property and casualty insurance provider in the U.S. It is also the largest auto insurance provider in America.

The mutual company, headquartered in Bloomington, Ill., has 58,000 employees and more than 19,000 independent contractor agents who service 83 million policies and accounts nationwide.

(City Photo/Michael P. Walsh)

Driver safety course offered in West Haven

Driver safety course offered Aug. 28

WEST HAVEN, July 25, 2019 — The Allingtown/West Haven Senior Center will offer an AARP Driver Safety Program from noon-4 p.m. Aug. 28 at the Johnson Community Center, 201 Noble St.

The program is designed to help sharpen driving skills, develop strategies to adjust to age-related vision changes, develop hearing and reaction times, and learn about the effects of medication on driving performance.

Participants must complete the class to receive a certification for insurance purposes.

The fee is $15 for AARP members and $20 for nonmembers, payable to AARP.

To register, call the senior center at 203-937-3507.

New sidewalks

New sidewalks for Savin Rock Conference Center

WEST HAVEN, July 19, 2019 — From left, Mayor Nancy R. Rossi, Public Works Commissioner Tom McCarthy and Rossi’s executive assistant, Lou Esposito, look on as a crew from the city’s sidewalk contractor, Elm City Materials Inc. of Spring Street, finishes the first pour of concrete for replacing a stretch of sidewalk in front of the Savin Rock Conference Center at 6 Rock St. on July 19.

The work, which will include a new crosswalk of stamped concrete that resembles red brick pavers, is being financed with a state Local Capital Improvement Program grant and supervised by city sidewalk inspector Ernie Chiarelli.

McCarthy said the high-traffic area had been in disrepair and was a public safety liability, requiring the new sidewalks. The area is a major gateway to the beach and walkway for pedestrians, he said.

Rossi said she is committed to renovating the Savin Rock Conference Center, saying that due to years of deferred maintenance, the building needs a new roof and other upgrades. She is working with the city’s General Assembly delegation to secure a $2.1 million state grant for the improvements.

The mayor’s vision for the waterfront center includes removing the interior walls to make one large banquet facility and adding a kitchen to make the facility more marketable.

“The Savin Rock Conference Center can bring people and business to West Haven if it is renovated and managed properly,” Rossi said. “It will also bring a reliable, long-term revenue stream to the city, which given our financial condition is an important part of necessary structural change.”

(City Photo/Michael P. Walsh)

Farmers market

Farmers market open Thursdays, Saturdays on West Haven Green

WEST HAVEN, July 11, 2019 — The Tony Inzero Farmers Market is open for its 20th season on the Green.

Through Oct. 26, the market at Main Street and Campbell Avenue features state farmers selling homegrown fruits and vegetables from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Thursdays and 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturdays.

It also includes crafters selling their wares.

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