Finch To Host Community Meeting For New Park Plan On Site Rell Had Proposed For A Jail

Remember that Virginia Avenue lot on the Upper East Side where former Governor Jodi Rell wanted to locate a juvenile detention center for girls four years ago? Then State Rep. Chris Caruso led the charge against it, including a candlelight vigil to derail the jail. Many other city officials followed Caruso’s lead, including Mayor Bill Finch, arguing the jail was not a fit for the neighborhood. Sanity prevailed. The mayor is hosting a community meeting tonight (Tuesday) to share plans and seek input on a new park proposal.

News release from Finch:

Mayor Bill Finch will host a community meeting at Thomas Hooker School (138 Roger Williams Road) on Tuesday evening at 6 p.m. to discuss plans for a new neighborhood park located at 115 Virginia Avenue in the Nob Hill neighborhood. The community meeting will give residents an opportunity to share their ideas regarding the design, planning and programming of this new neighborhood park.

In 2009, the State planned on opening a girls’ treatment and detention center on this site. Residents of the Nob Hill neighborhood, Mayor Finch, City Council members and the Bridgeport Legislative Delegation protested the State’s proposal, and in 2010 then-Governor Jodi M. Rell withdrew the plan to build the detention center in Bridgeport. The City purchased the site of the new park from the State for $1.

As a part of the City’s Parks Master Plan, initiated by Mayor Finch, to open parks within 15 minutes walking distance of every resident, the City has begun planning a new park on this site.

“The residents of Nob Hill fought very hard to keep a jail out of their neighborhood. Instead of a correctional facility, the neighborhood is getting a beautiful new park,” said Mayor Finch. “I urge everyone in the neighborhood to come to our community meeting Tuesday evening and let us know what you’d like to see in your new park. While Beardsley Park is very close to Nob Hill, it is more of a destination park than a neighborhood park. This new park will serve the people of the neighborhood.”



  1. When Lennie was on a first-name basis with Anthony Musto.

    From: OIB 1/5/2010

    One pol who has a problem, and not just in Bridgeport, is freshman State Senator Anthony Musto who rode into office during Barack’s 2008 tsunami. Anthony is a decent, sweetheart of a guy who’s trying to learn the ways of the state legislature. His political skills, however, might convince Dale Carnegie to offer a new political course: “Hey dude, wake up!”

    Anthony was drooling to kick out a news release Oct. 20 following Rell’s inglorious announcement to stick the tax-exempt girls’ facility in a residential area in the Upper East Side. “I’m glad to hear that this project is moving forward in Bridgeport, and I thank the governor for this investment in our city. Fifteen million in construction work taking place in Bridgeport is welcome news in these difficult economic times,” Anthony crowed in his news release posted on OIB. That release clearly showed that Musto doesn’t understand his district, and is totally disengaged from political common sense.

  2. Sadly, it wasn’t a jail. It was a facility for troubled young women. I stood in the cold with Chris Caruso, Ed Gomes, Ken Bruno, and hundreds of others (Anthony Musto wasn’t there) to oppose the state’s takeover of the land.
    Now, five years later (or so), Finch wants to make the land totally untaxable and to make the locals happy, get votes, and get this idiot re-elected.

  3. Bringing in the leaves … 2013.
    I attempt to be informed across a range of issues but with the variety of winds blowing these days, it’s sometimes difficult.
    We are aware of how green Mayor Finch is and environmental issues bear directly on quality of life for citizens. However, the Mayor seems much more comfortable discussing environmental green than disclosures on the subject of financial green. And there is a serious impact there for citizens and taxpayers.
    The conversion of buildings or land in this case from taxable grand list to non-taxable grand list keeps shifting the City budget burden to fewer taxpayers, who may have to work harder and therefore not have time to enjoy the plethora of parks. (Is there a listing of City Parks somewhere including year of creation, cost of creation, size of area, annual cost of operation, and utilization? Such a report might provide a point of reference.)
    This morning I noted City trucks of various sizes and a payloader bringing in the fall leaves. I am accustomed to City trucks collecting bags as well as leaves raked to the curb/street margin. But this was the first time I saw City employees with leaf-blowing equipment coming onto sidewalks of fence lines and blowing leaves, not previously attended to by homeowners from grassy areas onto the street for removal. Has there been a large cry for this service? If so, I have missed it and if this service is highly prized by the majority of us who are paying higher taxes, so be it. However, if it is not so, or it is not being practiced in other neighborhoods, well what do you call this activity? Everything has a cost. When public money is in play, how do you get at the facts of these expenses when a City Finance Director “chooses not to answer questions” from a taxpayer? Or when City Council fails to get monthly reports as the Charter directs? What gets hidden in the leaves? Is that where the ‘snow emergency report’ is buried? Time will tell.

    1. Anthony Musto was there that night. As a matter of fact he was the chain of events. A paper trail to prove it. I had written a letter to the editor regarding this attempt. I sent a copy to Anthony Musto. He responded and agreed with my assessment. Weeks later Chris Caruso started a Derail the Jail campaign with Joel Bing from Nob Hill Condominium. I attended every meeting and made all the calls to rally the people to the Vigil from Memoli and Memoli Real Estate. Margaret was also part of Derail the Jail. We had gone up to Hartford to deliver a letter to Jodi Rell. Chris Caruso, Joel, Margaret, her brother Anthony and myself. The Mayor and all politicos were in fact there that night. The idea of a park is nice but across the street from Beardsley I am not sure the best use. The city should sell the property to an upscale developer and build nice housing. Generate revenue and bring some nice housing into the neighborhood. I see potential problems with individuals using the park for unsavory things. I do, however, commend the Mayor for keeping his word these years later. I personally delivered to 800 residents in the area a copy of the letter to the editor that made Nob Hill and area residents take notice. Anyone who THINKS NOB HILL ACADEMY WAS A GOOD IDEA WAS A FOOL. THANK YOU TO JODI RELL AND ANTHONY MUSTO, BILL FINCH, CHRIS CARUSO AND THE NEIGHBORHOOD FOR SHOWING UP TO SUPPORT OUR EFFORTS.

  4. If the mayor spent even one-third of his time on economic development instead of parks, islands in the avenues and contemplating the greater cosmos, we might just have grown the tax base. What he thinks is important is a bad joke.

  5. More POINTLESS parks, what a waste. There are only 16 square miles of a very densely populated city! ENOUGH WITH NEW PARKS. We have no money but we build things that give us no tax revenue and in turn COST money to operate. The mayor is the same as a chicken running around with his head cut off. STUPID decision after STUPID decision. Whoever supports this guy is a fool themselves.

  6. *** Seems like this city’s idea of “new economic developments” are converting city-owned blighted neighborhood lots into non-taxable sitting parks! My, has the Park City grown during the Finch Admin, no? ***

  7. Green Mayor Finch was as Senator the prime mover in the creation of a waste of tens of millions in taxpayers’ dollars with the construction of a jail on the Pequonnock as he again went against the people’s will who wanted to restore the historic trolley barn and capitalize on the historic waterfront. What a waste of valuable Downtown riverfront!

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