Finch hosts huddle on state of downtown

Finch hosts huddle on state of downtown

Posted in the Trumbull Forum


Matawan, NJ

#1 Jan 7, 2014
BRIDGEPORT -- Ever get stuck searching for change to feed the parking meters downtown?

Mayor Bill Finch can commiserate.

"I've lent more people quarters," including some unidentified "big shots" visiting his office, the mayor joked.

Finch shared the anecdote Tuesday night while meeting at the Government Center with about 40 residents, business owners, developers and other stakeholders focused on a downtown comeback.

Those present said the urban core is transforming into a safe, vibrant neighborhood in which to live, work and play, and they turned the opportunity to ask Finch and staff questions into more of an impromptu pep rally.

Meters that accept credit cards and other issues were discussed, but much of the talk turned to promotion.

"Wow, there's so many positive things going on in this city," said Steven Montello, the Stamford restaurateur who in 2012 opened the Barnum Publick House on Broad Street, and last year its sister, Bistro B.

Montello echoed the Finch administration's complaints that the media focus on negative stories about Bridgeport.

In fact, the administration circulated a survey Tuesday asking attendees how they learn about the community -- newspapers, websites, television, social media, word of mouth -- and whether the portrayals are accurate.

Also among the crowd was the Rev. Sara Smith, formerly of Kentucky, who a few years ago accepted a position at the landmark United Congregational Church of Bridgeport.

Smith told the audience that when she first arrived it seemed like the city was under a cloud.

"This cloud is lifting," she said, adding, "I'm tired of my friends saying,`Why would you move there?' "

City officials are counting on about 550 new residents deciding to call downtown home in the coming years, once a handful of developers complete renovating the buildings that are part of the "Downtown North" plan.

The infusion of feet on the sidewalk is widely acknowledged as what's needed to help local businesses and draw other services. Just before Christmas, Clyde Ripka shuttered the eponymous 7,500-square-foot market he opened to great expectations last summer, claiming the "traffic" wasn't yet there.

"Having more residents downtown is what's going to draw activity on the ground floor and that 24-hour feeling," said David Kooris, the city's head of economic development.

And, he said, the city will invest $4 million from the federal government on streetscape improvements around the downtown train station, making adjacent Water Street more pedestrian friendly and welcoming.

Commuter Aaron Woskoff moved downtown in 2008 to be closer to public transportation. A devoted Ripka's customer, he wanted to know if there are plans for a replacement.

Nothing definitive, Kooris said, but the city is looking at potential tenants, including perhaps a food co-op.

It was also Woskoff who prompted Finch's comments about the parking meters, when he asked why the city cannot install equipment that, instead of change, accepts drivers' credit cards.

Kooris said a few years ago the city sought proposals but they were too expensive in tough budget times.

"We'd love to get your ideas on this," Finch told the group.


Since: Mar 11

Location hidden

#2 Jan 8, 2014
"Wow, there's so many positive things going on in this city," said Steven Montello, the Stamford restaurateur who in 2012 opened the Barnum Publick House on Broad Street, and last year its sister, Bistro B.

There's open corruption, murder, and absurd taxation in Bridgeport. That's whats going on in Bridgeport.

Trumbull, CT

#3 Jan 8, 2014
Yes!!!! Thanks to Finch BARS and TAVERN'S are thriving....Everything else is Closing(due to competition..LOL)...

Torrington, CT

#4 Jan 8, 2014
I think the politicos have let the situation in downtown deteriorate so badly, I don't know if it can make a comeback..........will take MANY years and new small business owners do not have the time or money to wait it out. they will open in other towns.
Fed Up in Bpt

Middlefield, CT

#5 Jan 8, 2014
This meeting was nothing more than another self-serving, ego-boosting B.S. session, where "Baffle 'em with B.S." is the strategy of the day. They continue to foolishly believe that by using lies and propaganda they can con people into coming to this City!!! That "cloud" over Bridgeport is NOT lifting, rather, it's getting thicker every day!! Yeah the crime and taxes are some heavy-duty negatives but those negatives are going NOWHERE until the root of ALL of Bridgepit's problems is truly addressed.


We've got vermin like Testa and DiNardo literally RUNNING the political machine here. We've got mayors the likes of Joe Ganim, and his family of crooked layers, and John "cocaine" Fabrizi who happens to be a VERY, VERY close friend of mob boss Gus "got away with MURDER" Curcio!! Finch who, like Hogan's Heros Shultz systematically pretends he "KNOWS NOTHING" when, in fact, he's been an insider and part of the problem for many years!! We've got a crooked State of
Connecticut turning it's back on rigged elections making any substantive change virtually impossible! Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of fine, honest democrats out there..... we just happened to get stuck with "bottom of the barrel" democrats. The toxic sludge if you will!!! Republicans have proven themselves capable of far worse!

Do those "stakeholders " really believe that when those looking at this city see outrageous scams, like the recent City Attorney custom engineered $400,000.00 give-away to Mark IV Manuel Moutinho, by far one of the most corrupt parasites in the region, they are willing to sweep it all under the rug as is standard operating procedure by Bridgeport officials?? Anybody who believes that 400 grand was anything other than PAYOLA is a moron!!! These creatures in power believe that, by virtue of their exalted positions, whatever they say goes!! THEY COULDN'T BE MORE WRONG!!!!!

As long as the mob, and their cronies, continue to exert control over this city NOTHING WILL IMPROVE!!! Most of the people who rent or buy here, only to discover what the place is really like, CAN'T GET OUT FAST ENOUGH! As long as those "in for themselfers" continue to run the place and continue promoting their "lipstick on a pig" policies this city will NEVER, EVER

Stratford, CT

#6 Jan 9, 2014
Very, very good comment Fed Up in Bpt. I am tired of people thinking that Bridgeport (or any municipality) is a bottomless well of cash for corrupt politicians, greedy entrepenenurs, dishonest employees, etc, etc. It doesn't matter what political party is in charge. It's still politics. The taxpayers have no more to give. We are poor! Most of us can't casually toss around terms like "$400,000" like it's no big deal. I remember when city employees had to live in the city. Now a large part of them have abandoned the city but are still taking the money home with them. Now they don't care, but they better start caring because soon there will be no money to take home.

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