Welcome Meredith Allen!

I had heard that the city hired someone for the vacant Planning and Development Commissioner post to replace Eileen Buckheit, who left in April, so I was curious to read about Meredith Allen in today’s Register. I have not met Ms. Allen, but from what I read, I hope she is the right person for the job. It is a key post in West Haven and one that can have a vital impact on the city.

On the plus side, Allen is not from West Haven. She brings a fresh set of eyes to the situation. And what a situation it is! The top three areas that need to be focused on are the center of town, the train station and Armstrong buildings, and West River.

The downtown area, Campbell Ave running between Elm and Captain Thomas, needs an infusion of storefront boutiques and shops that are a bit more upscale than what we have now. It’s a very large span of property so it will be a challenge to improve. There must be a model from other cities from which we could take a few pointers. I will admit our city’s demographics are going to be tough to overcome in attracting new business here.

Driving by the train station area this morning, I was happy to see some work being done there. I have been told that the station should be completed by next year. Lets just say I’m skeptical. Two things are bugging me about the train station, well three if we count the adjacent Armstrong compound.  First, there’s not going to be a parking garage. That’s a problem. Lets look at Milford and learn from their mistake. Second, I happened to be at a City Council meeting where Train Station Committee Chairman Michael Mercuriano urged the City Council to become involved in the planning for the train station. That worries me. This is a golden opportunity to create jobs and bring revenue to the city. The Mayor should be working with the City Council on this project. It needs to be a collaborative effort, not some secret initiative, to be successful. The station is just a few blocks from downtown, and the Armstrong compound is just across the street, so it has the potential to really have a positive economic impact on our city. Which brings me to number three.

I have heard that the Armstrong buildings will be turned into apartments. The upsetting part for me is that supposedly the buildings will look pretty much the same as they do now – like East Berlin before the wall came down. U.G.L.Y. Aesthetics aside, the Armstrong property development plans should be dovetailing with the train station plans. I can only hope that Allen will have her hand in both projects and realizes the symbiotic possibilities.

The West River area is another undertaking that has huge potential. It sits right at a major entry point to West Haven. For decades that area has been an industrial eyesore. We need a smart plan that will create more jobs, bring in new revenue, and be a source of pride for the city.

Hopefully Allen can direct her variety of experience toward the city’s stagnating economic development, especially these three areas, and jump start it, sooner rather than later.

My fingers are crossed, and I know we all wish her much success!

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3 Responses to Welcome Meredith Allen!

  1. bobby c says:

    Did you know that West Haven police have 673 warrants for people on FTAs and probation violations.Compared to other towns this is a shocking amount.Milford has176.North Haven has 60.East Haven 179.Orange 13. Why dont they go after these people.? Cant they have 2 detectives knock on some of the addresses these people gave..,If you go on CT Jud site you can find this info.We also have over 150 convicted sex offenders live in our town.I thought you might find this interesting

    • Thanks Bobby. Not that this has anything to do with this post, I appreciate the info, assuming it is correct. FTAs are Failure To Appear. I’ll have to look into this one.

  2. dewey138 says:

    River project and restaurants, stores etc can be developed along water street. Many boaters
    need a place to dock their boats. Having a marina and food, etc. will produce income. John
    Izzo ran a great boating facility with rack storage with little help from anyone. It was a shame
    what happened to the seawall that closed down his business. I for one kept my boat their for
    many years and now have to use milford boat ramp. My self and donald vogt were responsable
    for the boat ramp you all us on April st in west haven. Their is not enough water for me to
    launch my boat. We need outside the box thinking people that can see the vision of building
    a sports and nautical complex. Milford harbor have it, why not west haven?

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