Redevelopment receives a boost; end of a sad tale

Published on May 12, 2011 by

Here are a few random thoughts that popped up as I finally got into spring cleanup mode and began straightening out my desk. Sure, there’s still lots of paper strewn all over the place but a few Bridgeport items jumped out at me and here they are. Call it scattershooting around the city.

They say the wheels of government turn slowly and they are right. I’m not sure who they are, but I find that I usually I agree with them. In any event, I noted with amusement that one of the presentations at the upcoming Brown Bag Lunch Economic Development series will focus on East Bridgeport development. Don’t get me wrong, East Bridgeport is tremendously underdeveloped and needs a health infusion of business dollars to enhance its tax base.

However, two of the main projects to be discussed at the session are Steel Pointe and Lake Success.

Let’s see both have been on the drawing boards for about 20 years now, but they did put a sign on in front of the a large open field that reads Steel Pointe a few weeks ago. I guess the presentation will be all about that sign. Or maybe they’ll talk about how the project will zoom forward now that they’ve placed the letter “E” at the end of Steel Point. Still and all, the six part series in the Burroughs Library reference room should be informative and worth attending.


How the mighty have fallen, and it seems to be a sad tale. Patrick Coyne, former Chief of Staff to Mayor Joseph P. Ganim, was arrested on alleged child molestation charges recently, after a three month police investigation. Coyne had already done a few months in the federal slammer after pleading guilty to being one of the players in Ganim’s play-for-pay scheme. Before that, he was one of the go to guys in Bridgeport as Joe Ganim’s right hand man.

Coyne was even the focus of a Boston Globe article in the late 90’s about the Park City’s resurgence. It’s hard to imagine he has fallen this far. But then I think about his alleged victim and feel no sympathy for the disgraced mayoral aide.

Item: Mayor Bill Finch has issued a statement concerning the GE buildings which reads as follows: “General Electric has been a great corporate partner in the City of Bridgeport for many, many years.

Even after they closed their Boston Avenue plant, the company continued to keep up the property and take care of the site. We support GE’s plan to deconstruct the 13 buildings and powerhouse located on Boston Avenue so that redevelopment of the 76-acre parcel can proceed – creating one of the City’s greatest economic development opportunities in many years.

It is our hope that residents, and other interested parties, can continue to listen to the company’s plans with an open mind. GE’s decision to demolish a long obsolete structure to make way for a new chapter in the City’s development will mean new job opportunities for City residents and a place for new businesses to grow in the future.”

Get ready for a huge fight with preservationists over that move.

Oh, and of course, there are no specific plans for that site. It’s just another great economic development opportunity in Bridgeport. Just like the former Black Rock Art Center which has sat vacant for years despite the city telling us that when developed the facility would add millions to the tax rolls. Uh huh.

Wednesday night’s public hearing on the proposed Finch budget for the upcoming fiscal year has come and gone, but most residents were pleased to hear that the plan calls for no tax increase this year. That is good news for Bridgeport taxpayers, but of course in a budget year where the Mayor and the entire City Council are up for re-election, it’s really not much of a surprise.

From this viewpoint, we would find it refreshing if the council does not simply rubber stamp the budget, which would not be a unique undertaking. We need sound fiscal management in the Park City, which means the council and the administration working together.

The last thing taxpayers need is council people to say, “No tax increase? Count me in.” Here’s hoping.