Wall Street-West Avenue redevelopment plan passes despite opposition

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NORWALK -

The Wall Street-West Avenue redevelopment plan in Norwalk is set to move ahead despite opposition.

The Common Council overwhelmingly voted Tuesday night in favor of the Wall Street-West Avenue redevelopment plan. The plan to revitalize the area of Wall Street and West Avenue has been in the works for years.

The redevelopment area stretches from the intersection of I-95 at the south end to Route 1 and Main Avenue at the north end. It targets more than 100 blighted properties, however, designating buildings as blighted has been a hot issue.

Some say designating properties as blighted or deteriorated is an easy way for big developers to come in and force small businesses out.

"If we are deteriorating, the rents would be going down and the vacancy rates would be going up," says Michael McGuire, of Austin McGuire Company. "We have just the opposite."

Colin Hosten, council member at large, says the language is vital for the federal and state funding needed to give Wall Street the boost it needs.

Members of the Wall Street Neighborhood Association say they would like to see something done in the area.

"Many of us on the Wall Street Neighborhood Association are for a plan for the area, but we're in favor of a good plan that has plenty of transparency, not a lot of hidden items and things that don't really contribute to the area," says Steve Serasis, of the Wall Street Neighborhood Association.

Those who attended the meeting say they would like to see the Common Council finish projects that have already begun, like the project known as Wall Street Place. Construction on that project stalled years ago and has yet to resume.

One of the targeted sites is the YMCA, which Norwalk Hospital plans to redevelop. Another is the Garden Cinema.

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