With students back at school, the city’s town-gown divide with Sacred Heart University continues. SHU has an intriguing relationship with the city. Campus proper is located in the town of Fairfield, but the university’s connective growth across Park Avenue includes dormitories, administrative offices and classrooms in Bridgeport proper.
North End City Council members AmyMarie Vizzo-Paniccia and Michelle Lyons have been vocal critics of overcrowding student tenants in residential neighborhoods that injures quality of life and stresses law enforcement. Another North End council member Michael DeFilippo, a property owner of multiple units, has a different point of view citing the university’s strong economic impact that spends dollars in the city and creates job opportunities.
The mayor’s office issued a news release on Thursday asserting “city departments addressing public safety and quality of life concerns in the North End of Bridgeport have been taking action.”
Following multiple complaints by North End residents, business owners, and concerns voiced by North End City Council members, Mayor Ganim has called for city officials to perform inspections of properties and enforcement of ordinances designed to curb noise, overcrowding, and parking violations.
“This is not a time for residents to take risks or intentionally make neighbors feel uncomfortable. The restrictions and protocols inflicted upon all of us due to COVID should be taken seriously and with consideration. Any infringement on public safety, and quality of life by anyone in our city won’t be tolerated. Overcrowding and noise violations are being addressed with authority in the North End.”
Residents should be advised that various departments are inspecting and enforcing housing code and noise violations, along with parking enforcement. In the last two months the city has issued notices of violation or tickets to 12 of the 18 properties that have been inspected.
Additionally, landlords of three properties that were observed to be overcrowded are complying with city requests or violations, and have agreed to take immediate action to reduce the number of unrelated individuals living at their property to ensure compliance.
North End residents may report public safety and quality of life issues that may be related to SHU students at 203-371-7995, or call the Bridgeport Police non-emergency line at 203-576-7671, always call 911 for an emergency.