Log in Register

 

InfoBridgeportBridgeport BluefishBridgeport Theatre Company
OIB Classifieds
OIB TV Saxon-Kent Lingerie


Modern Plastics



Aquarion Water Company



Finch To Commence Demolition Of Building Site Proposed For Second Train Station

December 5th, 2013 · 62 Comments · Development and Zoning, News and Events

From Mayor Bill Finch:

On Thursday, Mayor Bill Finch will mark the beginning of demolition of the Remgrit site, the potential home of a second train station for Bridgeport. The Remgrit site (formerly Remington Arms), located on Barnum Avenue in the East Side, once housed one of the largest munitions plants in the country. Among the parcels located on the Remgrit site to be included in this demolition and remediation project are a 57,600 square-foot manufacturing building and an 8,800 square-foot boiler building.

“A second train station in Bridgeport will be an engine for economic development for the East Side, East End and the entire City, that is why we have worked so hard to make the P.T. Barnum Train Station a reality. My administration has been working collaboratively with state and federal officials to demonstrate the need for a second train station in Bridgeport, because I firmly believe that a second train station is exactly what our City needs,” said Mayor Finch. “With the commencement of this demolition, we have taken yet another positive step forward on project that will result in the creation of a tremendous asset to the City. In addition to the progress we’ve made on the P.T. Barnum Train Station, we are also cleaning up a site that has been an eyesore in the neighborhood for decades.”

The demolition and remediation project to J.R. Vinagro Corp., of Johnston, R.I.

Mayor Finch requested and secured $2.5 million in bond funding from the state of Connecticut for this demolition project, and thanks Governor Malloy, state DOT officials and State Sen. Andres Ayala Jr. for his assistance in the Legislature to ensure the funds were awarded to the City.

Share

Tags: ··

62 Comments so far ↓

  • Steven Auerbach

    Excellent!

    • Steven Auerbach

      I am certain most OIB readers and responders will have negative and insulting responses. The truth is most area residents have never been able to see or appreciate Bridgeport’s potential. They are incapable of thinking outside the box or envisioning a thriving city. Whether a train station ultimately goes there or some other tax-producing edifice, the Mayor was wise to secure funds to get rid of this horrid relic of days gone by. The more obsolete structures disappear and make way for development, the more commercial real estate agents and developers can imagine projects coming into fruition. Great job, Mayor Finch.
      This is great PR for the city and anyone who doesn’t agree is just plain foolish.

      • OlofsonD

        Just like steel point? Which has been in the works for DECADES! Many of us love Bridgeport, for one odd reason or another but it’s frustrating when nothing gets done here while other cities such as Stamford flying by us in terms of development so to speak. They get shovels in the ground! Look at their harbor project, it’s amazing. Something Bridgeport residents can only dream of.

      • Bob

        Steven, that was a very paranoid, and I think a very stupid comment. And those were my insulting remarks and they were directed at you. You’re as wrong as can be.
        I believe EVERYONE who posts here wants the best for Bridgeport. It’s the fools who run this once viable and productive city who have no idea how to reverse decades of decay, corruption, and plain inept leadership.
        Bridgeport’s 21st century potential lies in its location on the map. That would be the harbor, the airport, the train, its population and its need for mechanical upgrades.

        • Steven Auerbach

          So Bob, you must agree the Finch administration is doing what it needs to do to capitalize on its assets given the current economic climate. “Bob,” if you do not think most responders on this blog are negative and anti-Finch then you are just an idiot and that is my insulting comment directed specifically at you.

          • Bob

            Steven, I think Bill Finch is the dumbest person ever to be Mayor of Bridgeport. He couldn’t hold a job in the private sector and kept bouncing around in the public sector. He’s an empty suit. All style and no substance.
            You’re the idiot for the opening statement. It was offensive to those of us who truly care about the future of this once great city.
            All you seem to do is blather and pontificate with no substance to your remarks and no solution to any of the problems that beset Bridgeport.

          • Steven Auerbach

            Bob, your response speaks for itself. Another anti-Finch responder. You wouldn’t and couldn’t say anything positive about the Finch administration. The Finch administration is so much more than Bill Finch. I am certain many people do their jobs very well in the administration. “Bob,” when you have a better candidate who is running or have a solution to the problems that beset Bridgeport, I’d love to hear it. Do not pick a candidate who will come out of the woodwork the last minute and expect anyone to support them. The man currently in place is making things happen. It is a shame he gets only negative press on this blog. The good news is this blog has been anti-Finch since the last election and it didn’t hurt him then and certainly will not hurt him once Steelepointe gets rolling.

    • BOE SPY

      You should Google map the area and switch to satellite view. Zoom in/out until the proposed train station area is at the top of the screen and the end of Steele Point is at the bottom.
      Look at the area. You have exit 28 3-4 blocks from the new train station. Steele Point 3-4 blocks from exit 28 in the other direction. Say they move the ferry from downtown to the end of Steele Point. Then we will have our intermodal transit thingy. Then you have the dog track nearby. You can abandon downtown, bulldoze everything south of Arctic Street (the East Side) and build a new downtown on that little peninsula. Most of it is parks, ghettos, empty lots and abandoned buildings.
      This must be the excellence Steve is talking about.

  • OlofsonD

    A train station to nowhere but the ghetto, and it’s only a half mile away from downtown’s train station. Great use of money as always, BPT. JOKE.

  • Jim Callahan

    There is no Downtown. This could be a train station for a future Downtown on the East Side.

    • OlofsonD

      Look at the area on a map, it is highly residential. That area will never be a future downtown. There is barely enough commuter traffic to support the downtown station let alone a second one. By volume of commuters, our train station is a joke, many small towns have more than BPT.

    • OlofsonD

      I definitely appreciate you optimism, though.

    • Bridgeporteur

      Most Northeast cities such as Providence, New Haven, Boston, New York and Baltimore have realized historic old brick buildings are an asset, not a “horrid relic of the past.” We’ve had more than our share of corrupt demolition in this city. That’s all we know how to do. Only Derby ranks worse. Retrofit these buildings, it’s called adaptive re-use or urban revitalization 101.

      • Steven Auerbach

        Bridgeporteur, under normal circumstances I totally agree with you about historic preservation, especially when the property is incorporated into modern architectural gems. The Remington property however, has been the target of arson on more that one occasion. The eyesore has been an albatross around the neck of the neighborhood for years. The rats have infested the property and it is totally obsolete. There are many architectural gems that have been destroyed in our great city. There are many that have been creatively converted to housing. This property in question is horrid and kudos to the administration for fast-tracking this eyesore in the name of progress and banking on a positive future.

        • Bridgeporteur

          They are structurally sound structures and once you get past the point of total gut restoration needed, it does not matter how many fires there are as long as it is not structural. A few blocks away at 588 East Main Street all the floors had collapsed into the basement and it was all reframed up on the inside. What’s your answer to that? Besides, the greenest building is the one already built. Trust me.

          • Steven Auerbach

            Not gonna argue. If you had a plan and a developer with money and a vision I’d hold off on demolition, but like the GE parcels on Boston Ave, how long should a parcel be vacant and target for arson, rats and a poster child for urban blight before a city takes action? At what point does a city take action and restore architectural gems like Poli and Majestic theaters that anchor a rejuvenated downtown or demolish an out-of-the-way rat-infested eyesore that can reinvigorate an entire section of town?

        • Bob Walsh

          Stevie A, “the Remington property however, has been the target of arson on more that one occasion.”
          I guess everyone but Steve knows who is responsible for those arson attempts.

          • Steven Auerbach

            Are you confident enough to name names? :-) Bob, it is not who is responsible for the arson. It is about paving the way for the future. Get on board or get out of the way!

          • Bob Walsh

            Stevie A believes arson is the most effective way to deal with urban blight.

  • John Marshall Lee

    If I understand the article correctly, the Mayor and his staff have been working ‘collaboratively’ with State and Federal officials to secure money that is borrowed from them? So, the City is cleaning an eyesore (usually a positive) by adding to our debt once again? How much did we increase debt last year? Why do we need to wait for the external audit due any day now? (Because the Mayor does not share such details routinely.) And wasn’t the debt increase for 2012 about $36 Million?

    And the reasons for the debt: “‘… because I firmly believe that a second train station is exactly what our City needs,’ said Mayor Finch.” The Mayor’s firm belief in several things, not necessarily bad in themselves, but because they are not connected to any financial reality shared with the taxpaying public continues to be more than worrisome.

    Why did the City Finance department put out ‘monthly financial reports’ in July and August with errors in the worksheet because of nonsense formulae? Since corrected.
    The October monthly report was delivered on November 25, as close to on time as has happened with a FINAL monthly report in several years. However, when one reviews it you see there are actual variances in the revenues between Budget and Actual for 2014 that are not noted in the Variance column. And the reason?
    And in the Appropriations section, a review of the Police Overtime numbers will leave everyone confused. Why was the variance column removed? Does the City expect us to believe the entire budget is balanced at the moment because NO VARIANCES are showing? Why are column headings not on every page for reader convenience? Why have narratives about variances gone missing since around the time we changed Acting Finance Directors? Will the new Budget & Appropriations ask OPM and Finance Directors to cut to the chase and make changes to the only regular report they get so those NEW COUNCIL PERSONS who wish to may see how the City is spending OUR MONEY? Will anyone ask Finance for a FINAL JUNE 2013 monthly report since the audit must be complete? Will any of this happen, OIB? Time will tell.

    • Bob Walsh

      JML,
      You did not read the article correctly. The State of Connecticut bonded the money and gave it to the city.

      • John Marshall Lee

        Bob,
        Thanks for picking that up. So what you are saying is the State increased its debt rather than the City of Bridgeport? (How many of these gifts can we stand?) Still, our debt is increasing faster than our asset values, meaning a net loss to the taxpayer, in this case of State income taxes rather than City property taxes.

        What I really enjoyed was your using the work “gave” as the operative verb in the sentence where the state delivered money “to the city.” Was it part of a remediation program that was applied for and for which we qualified as a grant? Perhaps it was because the State is on board with an overall plan that has not been shared with the public as to needs, timelines and financing? Perhaps an important landowner in that area has someone’s ear at the State level in a special political year? Time will tell.

  • Bridgeporteur

    JML, we have enough “cleaned eyesores” around the city and they are expensive new eyesores. Vacant overgrown lots.

  • Phil Smith

    Here we go again. Another “economic development” project with little indication of either need or proper planning.

    Within the last five years two new stations have been opened between Fairfield and New Haven, a distance of between 20 and 25 rail miles. Those stations have brought with them more than 1,000 new rail commuter parking spaces.

    Is yet a new station required virtually within sight of the existing Bridgeport station? I doubt it.

    Do officials of the Department of Transportation and Metro-North believe another Bridgeport station is required? Are they willing to fund the construction and operation of this new station?

    If state and federal funds aren’t going to be available for both construction and operation, how will they be paid for?

    Those are all questions that should be answered in a proper planning study before, not after, a project like this is undertaken.

    Sometimes it makes sense from an economic development standpoint to remediate a property even when its future use is unclear. This may be one of those cases. If so, do it on that basis, and not the basis of wishful thinking.

  • Local Eyes

    The second train train station is in the proposal stage and we know how long that can take. The building’s demolition is overdue and civic improvements frequently precede private investment, which is good, right? Progress is the best plan and this is the first baby step.
    Confucius says wishful thinking is best remedy to overcome an unclear future.

  • Bob Walsh

    Promise me oh Lord over the grand entrance there will be engraved the words, “There’s a sucker born every minute.”
    And immediately entering the Barnum Station commuters will be met with an equally appealing egress for all commuters to use.

  • Bob Walsh

    Steve A, have you checked back on the Bass Pro website to see if they are taking applications yet?

  • Bob Walsh

    Whatever happened to the downtown inter-modal transit center? We spent a lot of taxpayers’ time and money on that fiasco, and now we abandon that in order to try to appease Sal DiNardo.

    • Steven Auerbach

      Bob, your vain attempts to squash any positive energy in this city is toxic. You are like a gray cloud hanging over the city. Your very essence sucks the oxygen out of the room and your whining is like nails on a blackboard. Those are your more positive qualities :-) . I assume Bass Pro will be hiring in a year and a half … I am sure you are looking forward to the December announcement of other retailers to join them. You must be ecstatic.

      • Bridgeporteur

        Steve, this is a democracy and if you criticize a government for not performing and for being disingenuous and ineffective, it is not called being toxic and negative. It’s called “patriotism” and it is our duty to participate in the process. No, I don’t have the money personally to develop a site like this, to answer your question. It seems the government always has money … to tear things down. Did you ever hear of “Demolition by Neglect?” Should we tear the Shot Tower down too? Should we demand the City hire competent creative people who can develop our historical assets or just allow our leaders to be dictated to by the DiNardos of the world?

        • Steven Auerbach

          Bridgeporteur, I totally respect and applaud your desire to support historic preservation. I too believe in that. Bridgeport has the largest stock of vintage Victorian homes in the state and I’d love for people to buy into this city and rehab them. Sometimes we have to let go of the past. BEAUTIFUL HISTORIC STRUCTURE WILL NOT LAST FOREVER AND SOME ARE JUST WAY TOO OBSOLETE. I used to serve on the Historic Commission under Tom Bucci and also was a total supporter of Joel Shiavone’s attempt to rehab 181 buildings downtown during the Moran Administration. As far as being “patriotic,” naysayers on this blog are about as patriotic as Michelle Bachmann and Sarah Palin’s constant attacks on Obama. They too sound sad and misguided and miserable as many posters here. It is never fair and balanced. If I criticize the Mayor am I not responsible for commending a job well done???

          • Bridgeporteur

            So Steve, you did not answer my question: “What do you think we should do with the Shot Tower?” And we have hundreds of acres of empty lots in our City from where historic homes and buildings have been demolished. Are these vacant lots progress in your eyes? Progress is restoring the Reads Building, the Arcade, Kolbe School, Washington Park, City Trust, 225 Golden Hill, Achievement First at Barnum School, The Mechanics and Farmers Building, the Lofts on Lafayette, 333 State Street. Have I given you enough positive projects, the only ones really in Bridgeport and they all happen to be historic restoration. Correct me if I’m wrong but where has all the demolition of historic buildings provided a success story?

          • Steven Auerbach

            Bridgeporteur, have I not agreed with you on the importance of historic preservation? Sometimes you have to let some go for progress. I love what they have done with 333 Main and many of the old schools. I believe the Remington site is perfect for a train station and fits in the picture of future Bridgeport. I still have a problem with the rushed demolition of the Curtis Mansion. That was a sin! On this proposal I totally support the vision.

          • Steven Auerbach

            I WOULD LOVE FOR THE SHOT TOWER TO BE PRESERVED IF POSSIBLE AND INCORPORATED INTO THE NEW FACILITY.

  • Chosen 1

    Estrogen treatments working well in the room as always.

  • Hector A. Diaz

    NOBODY BUILDS TRAIN STATIONS ANYMORE. They build PARKING LOTS FOR TRAIN STATIONS. Pay attention … Be aware.

  • Bob Walsh

    So Steve or Jimmy C or JML or Bill Finch,
    Did I miss a feasibility study on the East Side railroad?
    Where are the users coming from? Trumbull and Fairfield because it will be easier to park? No payback on that.
    Where is the ROI calculation? As in Really Overestimating Income. If it was real, if it was positive, if it made economic sense, the politicians would be waving it in front of our faces. If it does not make sense, they will tell us it will be done later.
    And if train stations were economic engines, please explain the Black Rock Fairfield station. No new development, no neighborhood spin-off, no nothing.

    • Fluckarella

      This is true. No new anything at The Metrosopoulos Train Station in Black Rock/Fairfield. No new development, no neighborhood spin-off, no nothing.
      Just paying back the State for Ken Flatto’s 20 Million Dollar parking Lot.

    • Steven Auerbach

      Bob Walsh, on that last remark I have to agree. The new station in Fairfield has done nothing for the area as far as spurring new development and it certainly is not a busy station. It had made it convenient for commuters to New York who do live in the neighborhood. When Steelepointe comes alive and East Main St. become an in-demand place to live you may change your tune about a new railroad station. I am hopeful, not deluded and I totally believe in the success of these projects.

  • bridgeportnow

    Bob, what did you mean by this? ‘Whatever happened to the downtown inter-modal transit center?’

  • Common Good

    Building a train station as a standalone facility is a waste–as are all of our train stations. The station should have housing and offices and retail, and the commuter lot should be secondary. We should be using the public transportation system to our advantage, not our detriment–but Connecticut only looks at Metro North as a way to get people to NYC and Stamford, not the reverse.

    Even the Intermodal was not well thought, as it lacked a destination association. It was merely a transportation hub.

  • Jim Callahan

    Troll: If an East Side station is just a trolley stop it may not be worth it. If it connects to employment opportunities that develop on the East Side, then it is worth it. The entire Remington complex up to Boston Avenue is a potential development area. Remington Woods should happen. Steel Point will happen someday no matter how incompetent the city is. (A gun store? Blech!) Just build the station so it can be expanded to a decent size when it is needed. The station Downtown sucked from the day it opened. This station hasn’t aged well. Make that Bridgeport’s Green’s Farms Station.

  • Bridgeporteur

    A new train station would be a good idea for the East Side. Fairfield has three stations, New Haven two, and Bridgeport is the State’s largest City. Empirically, economic development occurs around new train stations. Even in Fairfield Metro, there is economic development all around it and a strong housing market in Black Rock from it. It’s only going to grow. It’s called “Transit Oriented Development” (TOD) and look it up on Google and see what it’s doing for New Jersey.

    • Steven Auerbach

      Bridgeporteur, you are confusing. Do you or do you not support this project?

      • Bridgeporteur

        I support the train station, I support saving the old buildings to be incorporated into the plan. State Street Station in New Haven takes up a fraction of the area being destroyed here. No parking lots. People should live next to the train without cars, like they do in New Haven. These buildings should be refurbished into a thriving mixed-use complex.

    • Phil Smith

      “If you build it they will come” seldom works as an economic development strategy. Experience shows that is especially true of transit-oriented development projects.

      You don’t need to look beyond Connecticut’s experience with the new Fairfield and West Haven rail stations to see how difficult it is to capture the economic development benefits of those types of projects.

      The new Fairfield station started out as a relatively minor part of a major privately financed development. After the Department of Transportation committed to the project and began work, the private development collapsed and the state had to bail out parts of it which were essential to the new rail station.

      The potential for transit-oriented development was (along with additional parking) one of the major selling points behind the new West Haven rail station. It may still happen, but, so far, there’s little evidence of economic development resulting from the rail station.

      Any proposal for a new Bridgeport rail station has to make operational sense. Simply stated, is there an unmet need that offsets the capital and operating costs as well as the impact of an additional station on operating times (reduced speeds resulting from additional stops), costs and customer service.

      So far, nobody in Bridgeport has attempted to analyze those issues, let alone demonstrated the need for another Bridgeport station. If the City of Bridgeport actually believes there is a need for another station, that would be a good place to start.

      • Bridgeporteur

        In all due respect, I don’t think you need a weatherman (or any more studies) to know which way the wind blows. People will not be able to afford driving as the cost of fuel and the cost of roadways goes up, so the solution is mass transportation and it makes sense to capitalize on our location on the MTA line. Ridership is way way up over the past twenty years. That is enough of a study for me. The train is the wave of the future, Get on Board! CHOO CHOO!!!

  • Bob Walsh

    ‘Nuff said:
    DiNardo pays more than $1 million in taxes annually on his other city holdings, but refuses to pay on the Remington site.

  • Bridgeporteur

    In all fairness to Bridgeport, this station should be build. 140,000 residents and they cannot even easily access rail such as is the privilege in Fairfied and other neighboring communities. The downtown station is so user-unfriendly and the pedestrian access is dangerous. If planning was done properly for a new Barnum Station it would be as beneficial as Fairfield’s Downtown station is to Fairfield. All along the line you can see how RR stations are benefiting the economic situation of all the other towns and cities. It is Bridgpeport’s turn. Also keep in mind how Providence rejuvenated its downtown with a RR station project.

    • BOE SPY

      In all fairness, the train goes through BPT where BPT is narrow. For all BPT’s size and population, I-95 and the train cross BPT in a narrow spot that does not have much housing. The Merrit goes through BPT where all the commuters live. If all the things said are true about railroad stations then why doesn’t the downtown station work for downtown? I do not think building a station will change anything. No one will risk car, life or limb to come to park at it. For all the best-laid plans of mayors and men, the government has never done well at spurring economic growth. In the long run, they end up spending more than is generated. We would be better off if they just gave us our money back. Then we would spend it and spur the economy. Just wait and see what they find when they start digging on the Remington plant. Sal does not want it because it is polluted with really bad stuff.
      If you want to spur economic growth, auction the property off. Let the market dictate what gets built. Someone who plunks down a chunk of change on the property will get something built and flipped before their loan comes due. They will build something that will sell, pay taxes and make money. That is what these people do. Let them do it. The best thing government can do is butt out.

  • Bob Walsh

    They cannot even get their STORIES straight:
    “We could conceivably see a train station here in 2016 (or) 2017,” said David Kooris, the city’s economic development chief.

    Plopping a train station on the Barnum Avenue parcel won’t magically change the neighborhood, Finch acknowledged Thursday. But he was adamant that it was a good first step.

    “A lot of these things don’t happen under one mayor or one council,” he said, “but it has to get started.”

    So Kooris is saying we could have the new train station within two years and Finch is pretty much saying a decade before any other real development.

    A lot of these things don’t happen under one mayor. A lot of these things don’t happen PERIOD.

  • Andrew C Fardy

    The one main reason for the new station is it will allow the high-speed train from Boston to stop in Bridgeport.
    The configuration of the present station and track setup will not allow for that high-speed train to stop in Bridgeport.
    I don’t care who gets credit for taking down the old buildings at this site, I don’t care who gets the credit for a new station, let’s just get it done.
    Bob, there will be NO four-lane road from the docks to Remington Woods. The cost of replacing the bridge and tracks at Crescent Ave & Seaview 10 years ago was $55 MILLION. Replacing this bridge would also mean for a certain distance the tracks would be at street level through the East Side.

    • Steven Auerbach

      Bravo, Andy Fardy … We agree!

    • Bob Walsh

      Andy, the main reason for the RR station is Sal DiNardo’s property, the Seaview Ave corridor (read Finch’s comments) and a desperate attempt by Finch to say he is doing something.
      This is the Ganim playbook all over again. They will tear buildings down and the only thing you will see rising is weeds.

  • Bob Walsh

    Kooris is saying it will be built in two years but they have no idea how much it will cost and where the money will come from. If they are counting on the state, they had better get the funding in place in 6-9 months while Malloy is still in office.
    If anyone honestly believed in this project and believed it would result in significant economic development, then the city can pay for it with TIF bonds. All they have to do is put together the numbers and try selling the bonds. If Wall Street believes, they will buy up the bonds. If they think it’s a loser they will run like hell. If all these projections are bogus someone could go to jail.
    Let the free marketplace decide.

    • Local Eyes

      BW:
      The same things you are complaining about are the same things determined by your beloved free marketplace where uncertainty has always been an accepted norm.
      Stripped of your civic duties, you’re no longer a watchdog, you’ve become a cynic and a tiresome blogger, the newest doomfreak to join the growing ranks.

      • BOE SPY

        You’re right about the uncertainty of this project. No one bothered to do any studies. No one bothered to project how long it will take, how much it will cost, what benefit it may have or if they can do it at all. The only thing that is certain is Sal got rid of a property he did not want and the associated tax burden and debt. The project started off by screwing the taxpayers and will undoubtedly get more expensive as it goes on.
        I think projects work out the best when there is no clear vision or plan and the benefits are uncertain (wink). Think of all the projects people rushed into blindly, stumbled about and how they worked out. Even a bad plan is better than no plan at all. I’m not against the station but I am not for it either. I just do not know. No one else knows either. Those who like or dislike the project do so on theory and conjecture. That is what I dislike. I also find when this is the case the BEST thing to do is nothing. It is a lot like buying a lottery ticket. You could win but the odds are you will not.

Leave a Comment

You must log in to post a comment.