David Kooris Named City Development Director–Steel Point Makes Progress

David Kooris
David Kooris

UPDATE: Mayor Bill Finch today appointment David Kooris director of the City’s Office of Planning and Economic Development. Kooris replaces Donald Eversley who Finch announced on Monday is departing city service to try to restart the Bridgeport Economic Development Corporation. Kooris is highly regarded among a variety of regional business, planning and development officials, someone they describe as energetic who won’t fall asleep on the job. For the past seven years Kooris has held several positions at the Regional Plan Association of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. He has worked with the Finch administration on a number of development initiatives.

“We’re very pleased that David will be joining the City in this critical role,” says Finch. “His background in sustainability, land use and transportation planning will be a great asset to the City as we continue to move forward on revitalizing our downtown, and our City to meet 21st century needs.”

“I’m incredibly excited to come to Bridgeport at this time of remarkable opportunity,” says Kooris. “Bridgeport has the fundamental assets and the high-quality neighborhoods that position it for revitalization during the coming years. I look forward to bringing the skills I have honed working in cities across the Northeast and abroad to the benefit of Fairfield County’s greatest urban center.”

Nancy Hadley, a downtown resident who served as the city’s development director under John Fabrizi, tells OIB “David is a well known positive force for responsible growth. Every developer that has come in contact with him respects his knowledge of planning and development. He has a great reputation. He is a positive presence. He knows the potential for Bridgeport. An entirely positive appointment.” Hadley now serves as executive director of the Mutual Housing Association of Southwestern Connecticut.

Kooris joins the city at a time officials say progress is being made at the Steel Point redevelopment area, a decades-long initiative to revitalize the East Side. They hope to announce a major tenant for Steel Point in the coming weeks. The City Council Monday night approved the Steel Point Infrastructure Improvement District that allows the city to move ahead with improvements to the site such as utilities, roads and landscaping.

See Kooris’ bio below pulled from the Regional Plan Association website www.rpa.org

David Kooris is a Vice President at Regional Plan Association. With our Connecticut office as his base of operations in Stamford’s city center, he manages the Connecticut and Hudson Valley programs. He is also involved in work across the region to better understand the link between built form and climate change. Mr. Kooris currently manages several projects and research initiatives throughout the region that combine his background in urban design and sustainability with his devotion to the public process and climate action.

In Connecticut, RPA’s office led by Mr. Kooris coordinates the City of Bridgeport’s comprehensive sustainability initiative, BGreen 2020, which is presently involving hundreds of community leaders, business owners, and city staff in a process to balance economic prosperity, environmental quality, and social equity for residents, workers, and visitors. This effort works to implement many of the concepts outlined in the Greater Bridgeport Carbon Emissions Reduction Strategy, a research project conducted by Mr. Kooris to identify land use and transportation policies for a low-carbon future for Bridgeport and the surrounding towns. Lessons learned from this and a comparable effort covering the Hartford region are being scaled up to the state level to clearly articulate the role that development and infrastructure have in meeting our emissions reduction targets. Working with the Town of Fairfield and several other municipalities and neighborhoods with active transit service throughout the state, Mr. Kooris is helping communities identify the appropriate scale and character of transit-oriented developments to meet both local and regional goals.

In the Hudson Valley, Mr. Kooris manages RPA’s component of a capacity building program for communities that will have expanded or new transit service following the reconstruction of the Tappan Zee Bridge. This program, Creating Quality Communities Around Transit, is working with Rockland and Westchester Counties and eight individual municipalities to put the policies in place to reduce automobile dependency today while laying the foundation for the transit-oriented communities of the future along the I-287 corridor. Also at the sub-regional scale, he manages RPA’s component of the Newburgh Area Transportation and Land Use Study, an effort to coordinate planning around the City of Newburgh and Stewart Airport to encourage economic development while ensuring the preservation of this scenic area and limiting carbon emissions.

Mr. Kooris is just beginning his fifth year at RPA. He received an Honours Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology and Geography from McGill University and a Master in City and Regional Planning and a Master Certificate in Urban Design from PennDesign at the University of Pennsylvania. He lives in Stamford, CT with his wife Jessica and one-month old daughter.



  1. He definitely sounds like a top notch selection. An endorsement from Nancy Hadley puts him over the top as far as I’m concerned.
    “Hadley now serves as executive director of the Mutual Housing Association of Southwestern Connecticut.” Don’t try proposing a residential development near Madison Avenue. You don’t want to tick Mario off.

    1. Nancy Hadley’s approval is good enough for me, Bridgeport’s own El Exigente (sans mustache). If the brew smells right to her, the whole town can rejoice.

  2. Give it some time and soon we will be reading some negative remarks similar to those aimed at Eversley. I’ll make a suggestion to save you some time if or when any OIBer feels compelled to write them: If you’ve already written one or several (-) comments, just go to the OIB archives and pick the comment, copy and paste then change the name to David Kooris. But please give him some time and meanwhile drink Kooris Light and enjoy the summer.

  3. My response to the CT Post article below:
    Some don’t really understand what a “Gorilla in the room” is or how hard it is to build trust, until they’ve been in prison. One can check themselves or someone else may do it for them. “It’s like a jungle out there, it makes me wonder how I keep from going under.” One doesn’t need respect, admiration or support from anyone to check themselves.

    www .ctpost.com/news/article/Building-trust-in-neighborhoods-3674428.php

    www .youtube.com/watch?v=DKJsSPATDLY

  4. Dick’s Sporting Goods will open a New Super Specialty store for runners and golfers later next summer in the Steel Pointe section of Bridgeport CT.

    The Findlay Township-based retailer (NYSE: DKS) said Thursday that True Runner would offer footwear, apparel and other products and services.

    “In our continued efforts to explore new ways to serve athletes and build upon Dick’s Sporting Goods’ already deep commitment to the sport in Bridgeport, we believe that True Runner will provide a top-of-the-line experience to those who enjoy the sport,” said Dick’s Sporting Goods President and COO Joe Schmidt in a prepared statement.

    Dick’s has 480 stores in 44 states, plus 80 Golf Galaxy stores.

  5. It looks like Bridgeport will be getting Dicked again in more ways than one.

    Mr. Kooris has an impressive vitae. He looks like he possesses the necessary BBS degree. Is he going to be another public policy wonk? Does he have the business relationship skills to be a “Finder” for economic development or will he be another Bridgeport glue-sniffing model builder?

    As JML would say, “Time will tell!” The problem is I am running out of time. Thank you for your time until next time.

  6. Great, let’s hope the new person has courage for needed change … Steel Point, the biggest development issue in Bridgeport, is really blocked by the port, which is off limits to residents now. You can’t even walk into this area without a ticket, the ferry building. The view is wonderful and wasted on people just passing through not spending any money in town.

    Let’s first move the ferry east, as the boat company and city council reps there would like. Why do downtown powerbrokers fight this? The boat company wants to expand and move. Why would city official be against a local business that wants to expand? And forget the benefits of rail-highway-bus-ferry and the couple of folks who walk from train to ferry. Please. Open up that space for a Stamford Cove-like entertainment area.

    Then second, close the coal plant. It operates only at 10% capacity, doesn’t comply with new regs, and nothing will happen at Steel Point until the plant is finally closed. Stand there yourself and see. It’s not the mercury or pollution you breath downwind, but the huge eyesore.

    What a pity! Valuable seaside port real estate development held back by an old dirty coal plant. More money would be generated by finally getting the out-of-town folks to spend money before and after events at Blue Fish Stadium which is next door. Today, no one at those events stays in town. Someone crunch the numbers there on new business with constant foot traffic vs coal plant taxes.

    And it was sad to see at the recent coal plant hearing, a leading city official plead with PS&G to keep the plant open because of the tax they provide. So much for city talk about sustainability and forward thinking. Will we still have the plant when your kids grow up? The plant is already over 40 years old. On tonight’s TV show at 8pm, we will show images of the port so you can get a good idea of these issues.

  7. You have got to be kidding me!!!
    He doesn’t even look like he is old enough to have graduated college yet.
    Finch got rid of another African American Department head and replaced him with a White boy … emphasis on boy.

    1. David Kooris, don’t listen to angry cranks like Grin Reaper. Good luck. Most of us want you to succeed. Grin Reaper makes yahooy sound reasonable. Blech! How come that old fart Fardy’s not writing about this?

  8. Dick’s Sporting Goods specializes in golfing equipment–I think we are onto something here. Let’s forget about economic development and build a world-class golf course: “Steel Irons”

  9. Kooris was in charge of BGreen 2020. Case closed. What a farce that was, and is. Did RPA do the planning around the Fairfield Metro Station? If so, not so good a job providing Black Rock with bike, pedestrian or any other kind of access.

  10. Now that I see Kooris’ photo, I remember him as a wonderful, knowledgeable young man who is willing and able to get Bridgeport on the right track … let’s hope some in the Mayor’s office keep out of his way and let him do his job … too many Chiefs in that office.
    Congrats to David and I wish him well.

  11. He is an excellent appointment! A true leader in economic development. I agree totally with Pat Fardy’s comments. The administration must let Mr. Kooris lead the effort to grow Bridgeport’s tax base and attract new jobs. Bravo!

    1. Another kudo from a Finch/Wood flunky. When it comes to economic development in Bridgeport all these appointees and political flies have no idea how to run a profitable business. All they do is take up air, money and benefits; and then move on. Bridgeport has had 50 years of this repetitive BS and nothing to show for it except high taxes and inept and unresponsive government.

  12. Off topic but of interest:
    The word on the street is Ed Gomes has the 300+ signatures and the $15,000+ to qualify for public financing.

    Stay tuned for more details coming very soon–including an official announcement at the new Gomes 2012 Headquarters.

  13. Come on, Anna. What exactly did you read in this blog that could remotely suggest this guy can do anything for B’port???
    He has no experience running a municipal Economic Development office.
    He looks like he could get bullied around by Finch and Woody. And his expertise is sustainability??? We need serious growth and the hell with sustainability!!!

  14. David Kooris has good timing. Some people think Bridgeport has lost its soul. If he can find it, he’ll be credited as Bridgeport’s soul survivor.

  15. I don’t know Mr. Kooris so I will reserve comment at this time. I do have one question. Why is the city paying two salaries for this position? We are paying Eversley’s salary to go to some useless organization called BEDCO. Why the special treatment for a guy who did nothing for four years? What does he know the city does not want out in the public? Is this another favor for Mayor Bloomberg, after all that’s why Eversley was hired in the first place. Where did the extra $123,000 come from? Did it come from the funds for the ghost positions? It never stops.


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