A proposed “Community Benefits Agreement” between the developer of a controversial 120-bed halfway house for male offenders and the South End Neighborhood Revitalization Zone will be the subject of a community meeting Tuesday 6 p.m. at the University of Bridgeport Student Center faculty dining room. The benefits agreement guarantees a $50,000 charitable contribution if the project is approved.
The proposed agreement between developer Sal DiNardo, owner of 48 Norman Street and 828 Railroad Avenue near the border of the South End and West End neighborhood revitalization zones, and Carl McCluster, chairman of the South End NRZ, is available on the SENRZ website www.southendnrz.com. McCluster is pastor of Shiloh Baptist Church in the South End.
Community Solutions Inc, www.csi-online.org, operator of halfway houses for transitioning offenders, has leased the property from DiNardo. CSI is appealing the Bridgeport Planning and Zoning Commission’s rejection for a one-year extension of a “previously approved special permit and a coastal site plan approval.” Attorney Chuck Willinger, a land use specialist, has carved out the proposed Community Benefits Agreement between the project developer and the SENRZ.
Emails circulating among a variety of neighborhood activists and city officials wonder if this latest twist to the halfway house plan will soften the views of opponents.
The benefits agreement will guarantee a “minimum of $50,000 in charitable contributions to the SENRZ within the aforesaid one year time frame. The developer will further guarantee that the SENRZ will receive, on an accumulative, annual basis, the sum of $25,000 in charitable contributions for each phase of the CSI development.”
The halfway house proposal has been the subject of several heated community and land use meetings.