For what it’s worth Drawing lines in the South End sand
Let’s hear it for a neighborhood organization, the South End Neighborhood Revitalization Zone, which has in effect drawn a line in the sand against a Building & Land Technology (BLT) proposal to build a 22-story tower on Woodland Avenue between Atlantic and Pacific streets and a smaller development along the waterfront on nearby Canal Street. Members of the organization and other South End residents registered opposition to the proposal at a meeting Tuesday night of the Stamford Planning Board, which is considering the plan. “We’re not against redevelopment, but we don’t want a 22-story apartment building that would force families out and make it hard for others to see out their windows,” Terry Adams, one of two city representatives from the South End (the other is Elisa Coleman) and president of the organization, told me Wednesday. Susan Halpern, the vice president of the organization, who spoke at the meeting, pointed out that the South End was placed on the National Registry of Historical Places in 1986 and that the proposal, if approved, would have a negative effect on the neighborhood. “It would create even more of a bad traffic situation and, at that, how many more apartments do we need in Stamford?” she said Wednesday. This issue hits home since I grew up on Ludlow Street when the South End was a predominantly Polish and industrial area dominated by the massive Yale & Towne lock factory complex that employed as many as 6,000 people. To drive out people who have lived in the South End since that era (which despite the factory smoke and the polluted Jefferson Street Canal some of us swam in was a wonderful place to be raised) would be outrageous. BLT has virtually been given a free ticket to defy city ordinances in the process of redeveloping a huge swath of the South End, much of it admirable, but it is now on the verge of going too far.
What aren’t thorough inspections of all Stamford schools inspected for signs of mold before schools open? There doesn’t seem to have been an acknowledgment of mold in schools until weeks after schools opened. Clarence Zachery, chief financial officer and chief operating officer for the Stamford Board of Education, told me that there is “no particular testing of the 25 school buildings unless the issue is brought to the attention of the board by school custodians.” That seems to expect a lot of the school custodians.
Speaking of the South End and schools, the aforementioned Susan Halpern of the South End Neighborhood Revitalization Zone organization and other South Enders can’t quite understand why Kosciuszko Park on the Long Island Sound waterfront is now closed from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. while school is in session at the adjacent former Pitney Bowes building on Elmcroft Road. The building is being used to house students from Westover School that has been closed because of mold.. “It’s not fair to residents who use our park,” Halpern said. Incidentally, it was nice of Building & Land Technology to loan part of the building it owns for use as a school, though the price of $1.8 million for a lease that runs until the end of the school year in June seems a bit steep.
How big has Stamford gotten? Ron Malloy, a Democrat and one the two registrars of voters (Lucy Corelli, a Republican, is the other) said a record 70,449 voters registered for the recent midterm elections. Of those, 47,381(67.3 percent of those eligible) voted. By comparison there were 58,769 eligible to vote in Stamford in the last midterm election in 2014. “Shows you how Stamford has grown,” Malloy said this week.
Jack Cavanaugh is a Stamford Advocate columnist and a Stamford native and resident. He is a longtime print and network news reporter, sportswriter and the author six books.