City Takes Ownership Of Cleaned-up Maplewood Avenue Lot–Slated For Habitat For Humanity Housing

Chris Rosario, the city’s director of Anti-Blight Neighborhood Revitalization, has kicked into overdrive shepherding a team of city departments working in earnest to clean up numerous city eyesores, the latest a garbage-marred lot at 848 Maplewood Avenue next to Bryant School near the location where a three-year-old girl was shot walking with her mother this spring. The lot is tracking to become a housing development for Habitat for Humanity.

Former City Councilman Joel “Speedy” Gonzalez (who provides narration) shared a video he took on Tuesday of city Department of Public Works crews cleaning the messy lot on Maplewood Avenue that had been a scar on the West Side for years.

According to the Commercial Recording Division of the Connecticut Secretary of the State’s Office, Maplewood Associates LLC, with an address in Storrs Connecticut, was the owner. Eric G. Phelps of Fairfax Station VA was listed as manager of the LLC. City land records show the limited liability company had owned the property since 2007 and did not make a tax payment in 2011 with $2,093.78 owed in back taxes including $221.76 in interest.

Rosario says the city recently took ownership of the property after a foreclosure process that began in the spring. Rosario works in conjunction with team members of an inspection services committee, ordered by Mayor Bill Finch, including several city departments such as police, fire, housing, health, zoning and public works that identifies properties, tracks down owners, orders clean up action and if necessary foreclosure procedures. “We pressure owners to turn around the properties,” says Rosario. “You have to stay in people’s faces,” adding that the property eyesores contribute to crime and drug activity.

In some extreme circumstances the city will clean up the lot and charge the property owner for the cost. Other times, says Rosario, pressure from the city forces property owners to clean up their act.

Rosario says he anticipates the Maplewood Avenue property will be transferred into the hands of Habitat for Humanity within 60 days, with City Council approval. Rosario says several other eyesore properties in the city are also slated for renewal.



  1. The bigger news here is community activism actually worked in Bridgeport. More noise from people like Joel Gonzalez is needed to force the City into these actions. The City only reacts and lashes out. Thanks OIB Blog for providing a forum for activism. Let’s keep an eye on this one. Anything, (e.g., Habitat taking this property in 60 days) that is promised for two months from now is predicated on the theory people will not remember the promise was made by that time. The City has made a lot of promises to Habitat but the City property pipeline to Habitat dried up quite a while back.

  2. More from Habitat’s website for Bridgeporteur:
    Continuing to Transform Bridgeport through the 2012 Habitat Expansion Project

    Because of Habitat CFC’s successful execution of the 2011 NSP Project, the City of Bridgeport has committed to deeding over an additional seven properties on which Habitat CFC will build seven, single family affordable homes. Five of the properties are located in the East Side and two are in Bridgeport’s Black Rock neighborhood, a transitional area located on the Bridgeport/Fairfield border. In the East Side this project will be adding to the 137 homes previously built in this neighborhood by Habitat CFC while the two Black Rock properties mark new territory for the affiliate. Small business development and mixed income home renovations have ignited a renaissance in this up and coming area. By expanding our work to new neighborhoods and restoring properties to functional use, Habitat CFC will serve more families who in turn become contributors to the city’s tax base. The 2012 Habitat Expansion Project in Bridgeport will help Habitat CFC achieve our goal of transforming Bridgeport neighborhoods while increasing opportunities for volunteers and expanding the base of support for additional affordable housing in Bridgeport.

  3. Joel for City Council because whoever is supposed to be doing the job of representing this neighborhood ain’t gettin’ the job done!
    And besides allowing this eyesore to go on forever, who are the council people who are not raising their voices over all of the crime going on in the West Side?
    Seems like the West Side is the most dangerous area in the city theses days, not the East Side or End.

    1. Now that Chris has done such a great job over on Maplewood, maybe he’ll do something with the blight we otherwise call the mattress recycling center. High point of Finch’s sustainability green thing and still a blight on Iranistan Avenue.

  4. *** Hey, if not a community garden, how about a non-denominational holy-roly non-profit church for a citizen gathering place to organize seasonal marches against violence with the Mayor & Co. should the Habitat idea fail? *** Send in your ideas to the city council and win a free ticket to the State Zoo! ***


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