Paging The Invisible Man

Has anyone met the city’s new Economic Development Director Don Eversley? What’s going on with Steelpointe? What happened to the Canyon-Johnson project, ballyhooed by Earvin Magic Johnson, in the South End? Does anyone know how to play this game?

I don’t know Eversley, a former development official in Providence post Mayor Buddy Cianci, but if his goal is performing the finest Claude Rains act on the planet he’s doing a mighty fine job. I prefer he reprise Rains’ Captain Renault role in Casablanca. Round up the usual suspects.

That means introducing yourself to the community–City Council members, business interests, political leaders. Maybe even whiners like me.

Hey, I know, we’ll invite him to the next OIB party I’m planning for late September. If we see an unaccompanied drink floating around we’ll know the invisible director’s there.

Yes, I’ve heard about some family health issues he’s been dealing with, I’m not insensitive to that. But Eversley should have been paraded at a meet and greet within days after his hiring announcement.

Eversley seems to have a credentialed background. The development office has been rudderless (to no fault of development staff) since Bill Finch’s inauguration last December 1. That’s because the mayor turned Nancy Hadley, Johnny Fabs’ director, into a lame duck, despite Hadley getting some things done. Told her she was being replaced. That’s not unusual, new mayors generally want to hire their own development person. Then it took the city eight months to find a replacement.

The city’s on the precipice of a major financial meltdown, the likes of which it hasn’t seen since the early 1990s. Part of the solution, short and long term, is a nimble development director that can guide the city’s higher profile projects to completion.

The Donald watch is on.

Speaking of Steelpointe, OIB poster Eddie Palmieri took me to task for not highlighting State Rep. Andres Ayala’s mega-win over Lydia Martinez on Tsunami Tuesday. No argument here. Ayala, former City Council president, was not crazy about some of the details passed in the Steelpointe development deal regarding working wages, etc. The union effort to pull out the vote for Ayala was enormous.

Baldwin Plaza Party Tonight

The Downtown Community Council Presents:
The Downtown BeePo Hillbilly BBQ on Baldwin Plaza @ 6:30pm
Music by The Long Goodbyes (Rockabilly)
and DJ Cletus “Cougar” Rodgerson
Movie: Jesco White: Dancing Outlaw
Grub: Elvis’ Special Recipe Baloney BBQ



  1. Appropriate that today we start with econ devel or the lack of it.

    I read that Ffld P&Z turned down Whole Foods…duh, where are our people? Why not propose the Shaws site right off the connector? What a catch that would be for b’port.

    Looks like our planning people just seem content to collect a check and sell us a bill of goods on activity. If they got paid on incentives based on cranes in the air, I bet they’d work harder!

  2. Independent Soul-Right On!

    Also the city has a legal notice in the paper today for a zone change of Steal Point property to a PPD aka PUD (planned unti development) 25 acres or more of contiguous land. Gee I think I read that idea somewhere on OIB several weeks ago. Paging Countdown!

  3. Maybe Eversley was being hounded out of Providence, no? It’s a possibility. After all, Joe “I’ll Get The Volunteers To Do It For Free” Celli became such a pariah that he had to seek gainful employment up the coast in New London. (He lost his boutique position due to budgetary belt-tightening. Now he’s back in Bridgeport, hoping that the arbitration hearings between his nefarious “non-profit” arts organization and the city of Bridgeport, scheduled for next week, will go in his favor. The arbitration is nonbinding, in spite of Mr. Celli’s claims that “we will prevail.”)

    I’m awful curious about what is going on with Steel Point. I’ve been assisting a friend move from Stratford. We’ve driven past the Steel Point area several times over the past week. I’ve also taken the bus from The Dock, which returns to downtown BPT via Connecticut Avenue. Where’s the activity? A shovel or two of earth shoulda been turned by now . . .

  4. Lennie:
    You took the thought right out of my head. In the 50s we used to talk about “Kilroy”. – “Where’s Kilroy??” Yes, where’s Mr. Eversley? Would love to know what he contemplates for Bridgeport. Mr. Eversly: come out, come out where ever you are!!

    Tom Kelly:
    Good to have you back.

  5. Thank you, thank you independent soul! I had the same thought about Whole Foods. I’m just an average person. My paid job is not to promote development in the former park city. Maybe I should consider a municipal job. You don’t need to be an Olympic athlete to work at the pace expected of city of Bridgeport employees. Stay strong!

  6. Tom Kelly:
    That’s an interesting development (#2). Is PUD zoning in line with what had been proposed for Steel Point or is a brand new plan in the offing? Has anyone seen a site plan?

    So far as I know, the developer has not yet taken title, has not paid a dime, and is already seeking a change of zone.
    Sounds like Bridgeport!

  7. Eversley has an important job in Bridgeport. Economic Development Director is an important gig in any metropolis, but it has greater weight in BPT. Economic development is the key to the city’s future prosperity. Economic development means JOBS, something this town is sorely lacking. Economic development also translates into increased tax revenues, which would enable BPT. to overhaul the failing school system.

    So where is this guy?

  8. Automatic for The People

    While some choose to critique Bridgeport’s Economic Director, others hope his dreams become a reality within The Park City’s borders. Bridgeport’s prospects have been bolstered.

    And membership in The Mayor’s Fan Club continues to increase.

  9. Where oh where is Mr. Eversley? I hope he is doing his homework while he is enjoying his leave of absence. If he is any good or as good as birdman is selling him I hope he is determining how the proposed reorganization is going to fail. Ms. Kabel would be forewarned to watch out for a backstabber in her division. It is someone close, someone very close who has the ear of Mr. Eversley. Watch out Ms. Kabel-it is not smart to spend so much time away-you have a rat among you.

  10. I liked Mike Lupkas. It had to be difficult to step down from his position, and take a demotion and spend all his time training Feeney. God’s speed to him in his next adventure. It’s Bridgeport’s loss. That’s politics in the big city.

  11. Ok – so what gives? I noticed that the vacant property at Grovers and Brewster is now having some “landscaping” done. Did the developer finally get a permit that I did not hear about? I thought it was stalemated because of the historical district status, etc.?

  12. Also I’m hearing there are many voter registration forms the city has been getting. And as of last week there were 41,338 Dems in the city and it’s growing daily. Chris Shays does not have a chance of winning with this turnout in Bridgeport expected to go over the roof come November.

  13. Tom Kelly,
    I think you had a typo. It should read a PUTZ; Planned Urban Trite Zone. It is appropriately named for the taxpayers who actually thought something was going to be developed there. As in who was the putz who picked mid-town to develop that site to begin with? Or who was the putz who said Steel Point represents the future of Bridgpeort?

  14. Lennie,
    I see in today’s paper that HOK Sport of Kansas City, MO was selected to draw up plans for a new basketball practice facility at UConn. If memory serves me correctly they were one of the firms bidding on either the Ballpark or Arena at Harbor Yard but lost out to that other esteemed sports architectural firm, Kasper and Associates. Whatever happened to Kasper?

  15. Hey, there isn’t all doom and gloom. Last month’s PZC meeting had lots of good stuff happening in the economic development arena. The OPED team was hard at work despite not having Don Eversley. Too bad the press didn’t pick it up. The digital movie/sound studio was approved on the East End. That team is very high powered and ready to go. They are not fighting like that stupid internal developer squabble with the army engine plant in Stratford. Talk about keystone cops! Anyhow, the approval of the adaptive reuse of the West Side/West End Cherry/Howard block will allow Label Systems to expand and the eastern side of that industrial block to be converted to live/work space. Then American Fabrics complex on Connecticut Avenue was approved to begin the upgrades by that developer. And have you gone by Housatonic Avenue lately? United Rentals is actually under construction on the DiNardo site. So, yes some of the air came out of the economic development pipeline but not all of it.

    I heard Eversley started working this week. He was sighted at a Condemnation Board meeting yesterday. So, give the guy some slack and wish him a good run. Bridgeport needs him to be successful. He needs our support.

    Check out www The new zoning map and zoning regs are posted. The hearing will be in September with PZC action in October. I did a quick read and am impressed that the PZC has made some excellent recommendations that will improve the process and define where Bridgeport should grow and where it should not. It isn’t an easy document to plow through so I recommend that it not be relegated to nightime reading.

  16. Lennie,
    You are right on the money about the Director of Economic Development. You are probably aware that John Gomes (no relationship to Ed Gomes) was at the last council meeting and took the time to personally introduce himself to all of the council members even though the vast majority already knew him.
    Mr. Eversley was not at that meeting nor was he at either of the two ECDC Committee meetings held since his appointment.
    Mr. Gomes showed a level of professionalism and cooperation that was welcomed by council members. I can only hope that Mr. Eversley takes a page from John Gomes’ book when he finally makes it to Bridgeport.

  17. Countdown, talk about keystone cops. The last economic development department was like the keystone cops. Wasn’t that Cherry Street development one that the Fabrizi administration was in favor of, opposed to, in favor of, against adaptive reuse for and then gave away taxpayers money on another one of those illegal PILOT plans just to claim they did something when he was planning on running for reelection? Eversley has got to be better than that. But even that may not be enough!

  18. The city of Bridgeport was robbed blind in the Steal Point deal…and besides the details that were passed, that was the main reason the council prez voted no…after staying on as the prez to see the deal through…and taking heat for staying on…he ended up voting no…a politician with morals…damn…in Bpt???

  19. We really need an economic development director that is going to be totally active and visable in this city. A lot of things have been done right in Providence. Let’s hope that Mr. Eversley was a part of that and can duplicate some of those great things here in our City.

  20. BobBlackRock,
    I agree with you on Providence. That city ought to be a model for BPT to follow. Providence was an armpit in the ’70s and ’80s, another northeastern industrial city in post-industrial America. (Connnecticut has a few of those, eh? Bridgeport, Waterbury, Torrington…) They finally turned that around about ten or fifteen years ago. Now it is a destination. Bridgeport has many of the same building blocks: a vibrant if disorganized arts community; a plethora of vacant industrial buildings; easy access by plane, train, and automobile; a waterfront, etc. There is greatness here, or at least potential greatness. I love living in Bridgeport. There is a lot of promise here, a lot of potential. There are signs of optimism everywhere.

  21. I agree with Bob Walsh about John Gomes. I heard he was at Lyon Terrace (reluctant to call it City Hall anymore, not since former Mayor Ganim moved out to “The Annex” with the A-List Departments) introducing himself to department heads and civil service employees…a real gentleman. Wish him all the best. He has the education and business sense. Let’s hope he can make a difference in The Park City.

    T.K Glad to see you’re onboard again. Thought you were feeling a little out of the weather.

  22. Bridgeport Kid – I totally agree with you! By the way, I hear that there is a position open in Witchita, KS, that would be perfect for Joe “I’ll have the volunteers to it for free” Celli!

  23. Bob,
    That’s not far enough. I’ve learned that there is a burgeoning arts community in Anchorage, Alaska. If there is a God, maybe Celli will try to horn in on the action there. He’d have to acquire a taste for frozen fish, of course.

  24. Another Finch flop, recommended by his out-of-towner’s committee, who know all that’s good for the city of Bpt. Time will tell the sad story of the city that stood still during the nation’s on & off recession. And all-time tax increases that will break all records in America! Can you spell Ghost Town?

  25. Bpt.s finest is a bit quick to give undue credit without really knowing all the facts concerning the steel point puzzle. In politics #101, one never assumes to know the facts! Also, there is always more than #1 piece to a complex puzzle concerning city development; as well as inside the box info. and outside the box rumors!


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