Development Director Makes Case For City Progress

In a commentary first published in the Connecticut Post, city development director David Kooris highlights progress in Bridgeport. His commentary follows:

Every day, I drive or walk around Park City neighborhoods. Like most people, I’m proud of what’s happening in Bridgeport. Under Mayor Bill Finch’s leadership, we’re making wise investments in the city’s future that are starting to produce visible signs of change.

Steelpointe Harbor

I’m glad to have to pass across Steel Point to get to many project sites; it is often the highlight of my trip. It’s the largest economic development project since the industrial revolution. Before Mayor Finch took office, six mayors spanning three decades eliminated more jobs and housing here than they brought in, but growth is finally taking place under his leadership. Soon, this peninsula in Long Island Sound will host Steelpointe Harbor, a 2.8 million-square-foot, mixed-use development that will include shops, hotels, a public waterfront, and up to 1,500 apartments or condos.

When complete, Steelpointe Harbor will serve as home to thousands of jobs and generate up to $18.5 million of tax revenue annually. Its flagship tenant, Bass Pro Shops, will open in the fall of 2015. It will create hundreds of jobs and bring millions of consumers to the Park City annually.

Bass Pro Shops was sought out and secured by Mayor Finch and his team. This project is happening because this administration secured more than $31 million in federal and state funds. We came up with a plan that was smart and feasible; resulting in tangible job creation and tax base growth in the near term.

Eco-Technology Park

Another highlight of my trips around the city is the Eco-Technology Park. It’s a neighborhood of older industrial buildings that has been left desolate with limited economic activity by several mayoral administrations. But Mayor Finch’s green initiative, BGreen 2020, has repositioned it into a hub for green job creators, enabling businesses to grow and thrive.

Our sustainability initiative has been the product of hundreds of residents, business and civic leaders, and national experts identifying a long-range strategy for success. Good paying jobs are an integral component of sustainability; the Eco-technology park is where this strategy is already bearing fruit.

Serving as home to more than a dozen job creators, Eco-Technology Park employs hundreds of people while generating more than $10 million in annual income. And, there’s more to come. U-Haul and another private developer are revitalizing several unused warehouses and factory buildings, demonstrating a highly visible renaissance from I-95. Mayor Finch has worked hard to bring sustainable businesses to Bridgeport that create jobs for a cleaner and greener future. And, it’s paying off.


Bridgeport’s historic downtown is being revitalized and bringing with it new businesses, residents, and jobs. This downtown revitalization is even causing businesses to move back to Bridgeport, including Fletcher-Thompson, an architecture and engineering firm. In coming back to the city’s downtown, the company is bringing with it 135 jobs located below 30 new state-of-the-art apartments. As I walk around downtown nearly every day, the increased level of activity and vibrancy is palpable.

Waterfront Access:

In most neighborhoods that I travel, what I am most encouraged by is how areas that were previously cut off from the waterfront by vacant industrial sites or low grade commercial activity now have direct access to our rivers, harbor, and Long Island Sound.

In the East End, I love passing by a line of folks gearing up to take one of the water taxis out to Pleasure Beach. Following a bridge fire in 1996, the 71-acre former amusement park was inaccessible to Bridgeporters. While the re-opening of Pleasure Beach has been promised many times in the past, it finally re-opened under Mayor Finch. For nearly two decades, it was inaccessible to the public.

When Mayor Finch took office, plans to re-open Pleasure Beach weren’t in the works. But now, it’s open to the public because of state funds sought and secured by Mayor Finch and his administration to create the Pleasure Beach Master Plan. It’s open because of the millions of dollars in federal funds sought and secured by Mayor Finch and his administration for two water taxis to get Bridgeporters to and from the peninsula.

Beyond this one park, we have new fishing piers, new open spaces, new playgrounds and new amenities in all of our waterfront neighborhoods.

School construction

The foundation of economic development is education. In addition to linking students with employment and training opportunities, we need to ensure that our learning environment is of the highest quality. Bridgeport is building new schools to ensure all kids have access to the high-quality education they deserve.

The most recent new school that opened is Fairchild Wheeler, which is the first new high school to be opened in more than 50 years. We are on the cusp of starting work on another new high school to replace the aged Harding high school.

Since this administration took office, kids in every single neighborhood across the city have benefited from school facility upgrades that the mayor has championed. And, once his administration’s school construction projects are complete–including the renovation of Bassick High School’s roof–more than half of Bridgeport’s 20,000 students will be attending new or newly renovated schools.

These school construction projects are also keeping money in the community. Through Mayor Finch’s commitment to giving small local businesses an opportunity to thrive and grow in Bridgeport, the City has awarded more than $36 million to minority- and women-owned businesses on the most recent school construction projects.

Fuel cell and Renewable Energy Park. Bridgeport is serving as a national leader on clean energy. The Park City serves as home to North America’s largest fuel cell, which was built in Connecticut and powers nearly 15,000 households. And at the Green Energy Park, an old landfill site will soon serve as home to more than 9,000 solar panels and a second fuel cell, which will power more than 5,000 homes in Connecticut with zero-emission electricity sources. Cleaner energy production creates jobs, and it helps ensure our kids breathe cleaner air, and can fuel local economic development.

East Bridgeport Development Corridor

Bridgeport’s East Economic Development Corridor will be a much-needed catalyst for growth in the city’s East End, East Side, and Mill Hill neighborhoods. Bridgeport Hospital is planning a 40 percent increase in full-time employees over the coming decades. The growth in the hospital and other employment opportunities around it will be partially fueled by a second train station. The area will include a new mixed-use housing development offering high quality options for our residents.

Bridgeport is investing in the future, making our city a place where our kids and grandkids will choose to live, work and raise their families. We’re improving the city by re-opening parks, revitalizing downtown and developing the waterfront. And by investing in cleaner energy our kids will breathe cleaner air.

These things and more are happening under Mayor Finch’s leadership. And, it’s just the beginning of what our city can accomplish under a strong vision for the city’s future.



  1. I think it’s great David Kooris is raising the bar for economic development in Bridgeport. Many people here complain about what they want Bridgeport to be, while others show us what Bridgeport can become. Progress is underway in Bridgeport and I’ve made a t-shirt to prove it!

    1. What kind of meds is this guy taking, someone woke him up and he decided he had to say something to earn his paycheck because he has done nothing. Hey David, go back to sleep.

        1. Make it a double! Meanwhile, David Kooris Light lives in Stamford, is an elected official and crowed about how he would use his influence to bring more economic development to Stamford.

  2. Great Public Relations piece. Surprisingly, nothing added to the Bass Pro at this time? Maybe Mr. Kooris should walk and not drive. Walking, you will notice litter and broken roads almost everywhere. The curbs are crumbling and the streets are all cracked with weeds growing. I am the most optimistic person in this city. The commentary in the Post is a great example of better it comes from you than me. Mayor Finch cannot blow smoke up his own ass and David Kooris has been pretty close to invisible.
    We owe a lot to Governor Malloy, not Ned Lamont, for funneling money to Bridgeport. Now, John Fabrizi could react to this commentary.

    Bridgeport CT wants to hear something new. This regurgitation of redundant information just makes people realize our neighbors are moving faster than we are. Good piece of P/R for those not aware. Please Please Please, something new!!!

  3. Bass Pro will move in right after the November 2015 election. If you believe that, I have two bridges for sale, and one happens to be the Congress St Bridge or the Jim Himes Bridge.
    Bass Pro has pulled out of this deal! They do it all the time! The CT Post is sitting on this story until after Finch is reelected!

    Look what Bass Pro did to Buffalo NY after Buffalo spend over 30 million dollars of taxpayers’ money.





    Don’t drink the Kooris-aid!

  4. David Kooris said, “In the East End, I love passing by a line of folks gearing up to take one of the water taxis out to Pleasure Beach.” Well I talk to the residents of the East End and they don’t really give a damn about the water taxis, what they want is a grocery store to buy fresh fruits and vegetables and groceries without wasting their money at corner stores.

    The East End is a little over one and a half square miles and has 7,396 residents and still has no grocery store, no pharmacy and no national chain restaurant. Clearly 7,396 people would be enough to sustain a grocery store or pharmacy. The fact is since Mayor Finch has been in office, the only thing he has done for the residents of the East End is to put a water park in Newfield Park. A damn water park and nothing to provide a better life experience for the residents who live there.

    Please David, re-insert your head in the sand or go back to sleep because you don’t have any idea what the residents want, need or desire.

    1. Donald, it’s a concerted effort to spread the black economic power around in other areas. It’s an effort to keep the minority voters on the move. You tell me how Bass Pro is going to help the people of Stratford Ave. A few jobs but more importantly how many from the neighborhood need outside camping shit?
      We in the upper East Side are faring a little better, we finally have a grocery store and it is busy as hell. We still don’t have a bank, nearest one is in Trumbull. These are things Kooris should be working on but is he? NO. The politicians we have now are full of shit, just like this article.

    2. Clearly, Donald Day does not understand what it takes to sustain a grocery store, pharmacy or national chain restaurant. The fact is he misunderstands free markets and thinks it’s somebody’s job to provide what he wants. It’s easy to imagine corner stores preventing chains from moving in. That’s not a food desert; that’s a saturated market. I wonder if Donald Day wants/expects/deserves an affirmative action supermarket to improve local pricing.

      1. Local Eyes, shut the hell up, you have no clue about this subject or in fact any other subject. Have you or your family ever had to deal with the corner store where it’s the only place you can buy things you need? Well they exist and charge top dollar for everything. Here is one for you and the rest of the suburban assholes who have not had to live hand to mouth. Fuck You.
        These people deserve every chance to live like you and me and we can get a freaking Bass store but no place to buy food at a fair price.
        Donald, I know you can speak for yourself, no insult intended.

    3. Donald,
      I hear the city is looking to demo more buildings in the East End because developers are saying they need more room to develop. They need more room to expand once they start building.

  5. Local Eyes, we certainly share your optimism. I do, anyway. This article however, did a disservice to our Chief Executive Officer, Mayor Finch. This article offered no new information. Bridgeport must be the only city that regurgitates the same information year after year. Enough already! There should be so many projects coming down the pipeline at this point it would be real news daily. Now let’s hear a huge announcement like a 50-story luxury high rise down at UB.

    1. ACF: despite your warm words of encouragement, it is not logical to expect a grocery store, pharmacy and national chain restaurant within every two-mile radius but all those things are available within a short distance. East Siders don’t have limitations; they have nearby options.

      1. Local Eyes, no, what’s sad about your post, you really believe what you’re saying. The other sad part is the East End votes 95% Democrat year after year and what do they get from those in power? NOTHING. That mindset must change NOW.

  6. I had anticipated Mr. Kooris would be an improvement over his predecessor Don Eversley who slept his way through his tenure in Bridgeport. However, it doesn’t appear as if Mr. Kooris is even a hair better. It’s time to consider hiring someone with roots and a foothold in Bridgeport, not NYC or Stamford.

  7. The last person who cared about Bridgeport was former economic director Nancy Hadley. She even moved downtown. Nancy knew her job but there was one thing wrong with Nancy and it was she is a knowledgeable person. She loved her job and did it well.
    The other problem is Nancy is a strong woman and the little girls we have running the city are afraid of strong women.

      1. While she was Economic Director, her development efforts brought over $100,000,000 in development. Here is a partial list. Park City Hospital, Downtown Arcade, 144 Golden Hill St. and the City Trust Bldg. I can remember them all but I know there are more. Nancy and Fabrizi got all the parcels of land together to finish steel point.

        1. Andy, when Nancy Hadley was director, I was not overly impressed, despite all the activity you mentioned. I thought she should be accomplishing more. Gives truth to the old adage “You don’t know what you have ’til it’s gone.”

    1. Kathy Bates from Misery? Delores Claiborne or the new Melissa McCarthy movie? A psychopath, murderer or successful lesbian?

      Nancy Hadlry had done slot for the City while in office. She was a hard worker and believed in her job. Not at all pleased with the Park City Hospital housing. UUUGGGLLLY … I am certain she would love to see Fabrizi run again. I am not so certain people will be looking forward to a rehash of a past administration.

      Side note to Donald Day, Andrew Fardy and Local Eyes. There is clearly a need for a grocery store in the Stratford Ave. area. This is the perfect opportunity for a local entrepreneur to apply for a minority business loan. This is a perfect opportunity for local talent to give back to their neighborhood. It is clear that area has been redlined for many many years.
      Local Eyes does have a point. You cannot expect a grocery chain to move into a neighborhood just because you want it. Stop & Shop in Black Rock is a perfect example of a low-performing store. Security expenses alone are prohibitive. I say leave it to local talent.

      Let’s not forget about the short-lived, ill-advised downtown grocery store. I wonder if city officials explored a Price Rite or Save ALot franchise. I do see a supermarket in the near future as housing gets underway on Steelepointe. We may not live to see it. It is true, these corner stores are a ripoff and it is very sad with limited choices.

      1. Steve, who the hell do you think you are insulting with the remark “You cannot expect a grocery chain to move into a neighborhood just because you want it. Stop & Shop in Black Rock is a perfect example of a low-performing store. Security expenses alone are prohibitive. I say leave it to local talent.”
        Let’s start at local talent where we have the corner stores overcharging customers for basic items. Hey Steve, go up to the market across from Home Depot in Bridgeport where you will see the minority economic dollar at work. Where do you get your numbers concerning Black Rock Stop & Shop? What are the performance numbers and monthly security costs?
        People deserve the same treatment no matter where they live. People have a right to a major food market, there are many located in tough neighborhoods. Try Ferraro’s in New Haven.
        People have a right to a bank without having to travel across the city. I have lived here 70 years. Had four banks in a two-mile area. No robberies, no banks now.
        Before you get on your sanctimonious high horse remember you have to stand up once in a while and can’t make everyone happy. I know you pissed me off and I am considered a conservative.

        1. Andy, get off your ducking high horse. I will repeat, there is no question redlining has occurred in Bridgeport for 25 years including banks giving mortgages. The grocery store by Home Depot, Food Bazaar is one of my favorites. That is not Stratford Avenue thanks to years of Ernie Newton. Just because there is a need for a particular business, you cannot expect city government to bring in a business that does not want to be there. There are entrepreneurs from that area who might want to take advantage of money available to minorities to start a business. Sorry Andy, if you and your new friend Donald Day (that is a joke) think Stop & Shop, ShopRite, Food World or the Big Y is looking to start up a business before Steelepointe takes off, think again. Compare Grocery also does well on East Main St. Stop & Shop closed the Madison Ave. store as low performing. It was twice as busy as the one on Fairfield Ave. That piece of prime real estate has been vacant for years. Not even ShopRite thinks it is worth investing in another North End grocery store. I have never suggested those living on the East Side did not deserve better amenities. To think the City can lure a store to the neighborhood without perks galore is just ridiculous. Look at the benefits the downtown grocery store received before they closed down and disappeared. They had the deal of the century. I say there is a lot of local talent. The grants and land are available. Why not take advantage? There are many well-educated minorities in the area who probably do not even know the opportunities available. Maybe that’s what needs to happen.

          1. Steve, Donald Day and I have had our share of arguments and there will more further down the road. I respect Day and what he is fighting for.
            I feel very strongly the minority community has a right to live like everyone else. My siste-in-law works in a bank that’s been robbed three times. Has it been closed? No, and there are no plans to do so.
            Listen, as perks go this city passes them out like gumdrops. These stores can be run and be profitable if they are run by the right people. I don’t mean some uptight white guy from Trumbull, I mean someone who knows the neighborhood.
            Steve, I am on my high fucking horse because I am tired of all the liberal bullshit that is going on in the press and here in Bpt. I am tired of certain assholes who will make fun of a person because of how they look, that’s being a bully and if the person who wrote it wants to push someone around, here I am.

          2. Steven Auerbach, you are way off base on this one, way off. You know it was ok for the voters of the East End to come off every election and give all of these Democratic mayors the largest percentage of voters to vote for Democrats, it’s ok take their tax dollars but NOT give them the same level of service as other districts. For years there were two Stop and Shop within blocks of each other on Main Street and one on Madison Ave. with a Pathmart now Price Rite a block away but that was ok but NOTHING in the East End. It was ok for residents to drive to their district to shop but it’s NOT to shoppers to travel to the East End to shop. Black dollars spend just as good as dollars from other groups of people. Everybody wants a fire house on their block with a police car riding through all the time with a pharmacy bank and gas station down the street but NONE of those businesses for the East End, black dollars must travel.

          3. Ron Mackey, I do not believe I am way off base. First, I have made it perfectly clear I support Donald Day’s desire for a grocery store as well as other amenities in the area. Second, let’s not call this a minority, black or other condescending issue. I live in the North End, my neighbors across the street and next door on both sides are black. OMG, imagine that, your continually making these issues about race is demeaning. It is about socioeconomic issues. I am sure you have poor white, Hispanic, Vietnamese, Chinese, Columbian and a host of other minorities that are experiencing the same hardships. I am in agreement there is a need. What are your local councilmen doing about it? What have past elected State Senators and Representatives done about it? What has Joe Ganim done about it in 10 years and prolonging Steelepointe development? As far as repeatedly delivering the Democratic vote, honestly Ron, a Republican would serve this impoverished community better? Really? Let’s try that. Let’s get rid of all the social programs in Bridgeport. Let’s see how much better Bridgeport would be under Republican leadership. As far as Finch delivering a grocery store, I do not believe he or his development department have the determination or enthusiasm to excite anyone to do that. Which brings me back to my original idea. Local educated entrepreneurs taking advantage of minority-based grants and loans. One success story could lead to others. Maybe the people themselves just need to take back the area. The area in question has been neglected from years and years and years and years of electing unqualified, uneducated, self-serving individuals to high-ranking positions. I know the Stratford Ave. corridor is ripe for development. Elect the right people to fight for you. Demand from them. Welcome developers. Usually there is an anti-developer mentality for fear the area improves and gentrification takes place, the rents go up and people
            are forced out. I say educate the residents, find local talent and apply for State-backed small-business minority loans.

          4. Steve, here you are again with bullshit about Republicans. With the exception of Mary Moran and Pannuzio this city has been governed by Democrats. Now sitting on your ass tell me the great strides the local Democrats have brought to Bridgeport. Tell me what social programs this nasty Republican will get rid of.
            Wow, you have minorities all around you, what a humanitarian!!! Look Steve, on a local level the party means little. Local politics should be voted as such so the individual person should be that person instead of party affiliation. You see Steve, you really have to grow up. For a later argument how’s do-nothing Obama doing?

          5. Andy, on a local level you are right, Democrat or Republican doesn’t matter … Obama, I think he is doing great! I do not need Fox News to tell me how he’s doing. Isn’t it ironic the leadership in the states with immigration problems are ruled by Republicans. Two losers. Obama may be low in the polls but history will read differently. Not only has he changed the perception of minorities, gays and women, he has brought healthcare, ended two wars, careful about putting our young military in harm’s way defending others who have no respect for us. The stock market is at the highest in history. The employment rate is the lowest in six years, he has been fighting for equal pay for women, raising the minimum wage. He got Osama bin Laden. Within three months more than 50 percent of this country will have approved gay marriage with over 75 percent of the country’s population. He believes in separation of church and state. He is young and progressive. The youth of America love him and that’s pretty much all I have to say about this President. You have a Republican in mind. Ain’t gonna happen. The next generation of voters are currently 16. The young Republicans all support the Democratic social issues. The Republican part is dying out. Enough said on that.

            Andy Fardy, as far as my being a humanitarian because I live on a street with black families would imply I was a racist. Loving my city and loving where I live and having a close rapport with my neighbors would show a much different story. My point is the black community has not been pushed into one area. This city is integrated very well as it should be. My point was the issue on the Stratford Ave. corridor is a socioeconomic issue, not a black issue. This is not Bridgeport 1964. It is 2014. My President is a very well-educated black man with a brilliant wife and a lovely family. I expect his poll numbers upon leaving office will be right up there as he hands the reins over to the first woman president.

        2. Steven Auerbach, there is a problem right here at home in Bridgeport.

          You seem to have a problem with using the word “black” so I will replace it with the words “EAST END” and repeat what I stated earlier. “It was okay for residents to drive to their district to shop but it’s NOT for shoppers to travel to the East End to shop. EAST END dollars spend just as good as dollars from other groups of people. Everybody wants a firehouse on their block with a police car riding through all the time with a pharmacy, bank and gas station down the street but NONE of those businesses for the East End, EAST END dollars must travel.

          If the voters of the EAST END deliver the largest percentage of voters at every election to Democratic mayors then they should expect and receive something in return for their votes just like any other district in Bridgeport.

          1. Yes, but a grocery store? Ron, I said a number of times I agree there is a need. So let’s just demand Bill Finch reach behind him and pull a grocery store out of his ass and if he cannot maybe you can be like Ernie Newton and suggest as the obvious spokesperson for the East End you will tell the constituents to stay home and not vote. I maintain Mayor Finch can deliver many things to improve the quality of life for East End residents. I do not think a grocery store is something he can pull off.

        3. Steve, you are an educated man but I think you forgot you are educated. Did it ever dawn on you the states having the biggest problems are on the border where these entries are being made? So in simple language because I have terminal dumbass, tell me why the Republican governors are at fault.

          Steve, now please tell me how this influx of kids got to the border? They were not sent there by FOX news. Check on Obama’s executive orders and you will find information about amnesty for children. This started the influx of kids.
          Blaming Republican governors is childish and I’m sorry to say ill-informed.

  8. I would expect the CT Post will provide equal editorial page space for mayoral candidates challenging Finch. Kooris’ campaign speech for his boss is pure drivel.

    1. Tom, I am certain this had to be approved by the Mayor and Adam Wood. It really was ill-advised and apparent to anyone with half a brain this is to combat John Fabrizi. I give the Mayor credit on many issues. This article was just too embarrassing. Now we have heard from Mr. Kooris. Did he forget to mention Marina Village coming to downtown as a catalyst for economic development? Will there be a photo op with a ground breaking? This is Bridgeport’s concept of revitalizing a downtown. Shame Shame Shame.

  9. Kooris, please remove your head from Birdman Finch’s ASS ASAP. Also, the last strong Director of OPED was Mike Freimuth. Since he left, there has been one flat washer (someone who takes up space) after another.

  10. I believe Mr. Kooris received his job as a favor to Governor Malloy, perhaps with the promise of future funding on any projects he worked on. It would be interesting to see his resume, wouldn’t it be a kick in the pants if this were his first director’s job? If that is the case then maybe we can get that bridge to Pleasure Beach from the Governor as well, or did we already get it?

  11. When a Bridgeport landowner proposes to use the land to build an apartment house with his own or borrowed money, that is a good thing, isn’t it? If the land and buildings are valued at $13 Million for example and assessed at 70% then they would enhance the Net Taxable Grand List and raise about $385,000 of new taxes, and that is a good thing, isn’t it? (Assume the property were paying only $20,000 in land tax today.)
    But what if that owner comes to the City and asks for a City Council authorized payment in lieu of regular taxes schedule running between $125,000 to $155,000 ten years later? Is that a good deal? If the formula that calculates two-bedroom rents at $2300 per month and provides less than a 12% return with a guaranteed freedom from regular taxation for the owner is a good deal, how do taxpayers who are paying 100% of their assessed taxes each year feel about subsidizing this investment? Time will tell.

  12. Hector, do you think it possible Malloy, a Stamford Democrat and Kooris, an elected board member in Stamford worked political magic to get this done?
    Question of the day: Are there any other cities that hire elected politicians from a competing city to be that city’s Economic Developer?

  13. Andy, I don’t think they consider us competition, though they should. It probably would be a good idea to do the Guv a favor and hire one of his guys, but Economic Director? He should have given the job to Mojo, and given Kooris a job checking park stickers.

  14. Hey guys,
    Can we have a time-out (like they do in World Cup), take some deep breaths and focus on the game we are playing as Team Bridgeport?
    Yes, we are playing this game on our own field and it is important to our civic pride. (Just like Brazil.)
    Coach Kooris has had some great education before coming to Team Bridgeport. He also has family roots in the City with grandparents who lived here. And he has previously worked with a regional planning firm so he knows the status and games of the other teams in the area. Right?
    It may be true our last coach seemed to suffer terminal drowsiness when in public. And in retrospect perhaps many of the things accomplished in cities where he worked were not of his actual making. But the Bridgeport ‘pitch’ for development in a time of tight private money has not been an easy one in recent years and has depended on many special plays that allow economic development to occur, but may not have much effect on current tax levels. And how many times do you have to take a shot on goal to ultimately put one in the net? Isn’t that the question? So remain hopeful and focused, just as Brazil was earlier this week, but since we know we are in a defensive posture, let’s protect the taxpayer by cutting team costs, like Finch’s budgets. If no one in the City is playing defense on the spending side, doesn’t it just put greater pressure than ever on the offense to score? Are we blaming the wrong players at City Hall for creating this dilemma? Time will tell.

  15. Having a grocery store also helps attract new residents to a community. Similar to a school, a post office, restaurants and churches, a grocery store makes a community a more attractive place to live. Grocery stores can also be social places where you run into neighbors in the produce aisle, introduce yourself to someone new in the community, or catch up on local happenings with the cashier.

    The lack of a grocery store means residents have less access to healthy fresh fruits and vegetables, and the elderly and others without reliable transportation will tend to buy their food at corner stores with more limited selections or go for longer periods of time between visits to a store.

    Supermarket shortages have been identified in many American urban neighborhoods, and such gaps in food access have been closely correlated with diet-related diseases such as cancer, obesity and diabetes. Racial and wealth segregation remain prominent characteristics of US neighborhoods, and studies suggest predominantly black neighborhoods suffer from a greater lack of access to healthy food.

    Of 216 US census tracts studied, the ratio of supermarkets to residents for predominantly white areas is 1:3816 versus 1:23,582 for predominantly black neighborhoods. Only 8% of black Americans lived in a census tract with at least one supermarket; 31% of Whites live in a census tract with at least one supermarket.
    Where supermarket developers have neglected some urban neighborhoods, city governments and nonprofits can work together to market the potential of inner city areas to grocery store executives. Since land is difficult for supermarkets to acquire, cities may survey commercially zoned land to create a database of suitable land parcels. Such a database may be used in an informational guide to provide to grocery store executives.

    Executives’ fears of security costs may be easily abated: Rochester clinched the deal with a Tops supermarket by offering to locate a police station at the development site. And the practice of hiring locals as security guards does a lot to decrease security issues and losses to shrinkage. A problem in urban and suburban stores alike, shoplifting is 6% to 8% of supermarket revenues. Fear of crime also acts as a big deterrent for investors, but some cities interested in developing new grocery stores have placed police stations near development sites in order to allay developers’ fears.

    See Steve and Local Eyes, it can be done if Mayor Finch and the other politicians are so inclined to make this happen and give the residents of the East End what every other section of the city has and deserves, a grocery store.

    1. Donald Day, I acknowledge the need, I totally support your desire, the people in that neighborhood deserve better, but I still do not know if it is the City government’s responsibility to lure the business. If they can, I am on your side. If I were in that department, I’d be working to recruit all types of business to this city. I am glad Starbucks is not in the state’s largest city. Their coffee is the worst.

  16. Hector, let me say this. Stamford is interested in one thing from Bridgeport, the work force. Stamford offers a livable wage (note I said livable, not great). Our people go there because that’s where the work is. They have to accept the wages offered because there is nothing else.
    Imagine if Bridgeport brings in some of the jobs that keep falling in Stamford’s lap. You know what happens? People leave their jobs and take the new jobs in Bridgeport thus saving a lot of money they had to spend to go to Stamford. They also shorten their workday by about three hours of no travel from Stamford & Bridgeport.
    Hector, the casino fight had nothing to do with gambling, it had to do with Stamford losing its work force to the Bridgeport casino.
    You or someone else tell me why you would hire an economic director from Stamford. This same person now becomes an elected official in Stamford and is still the economic director of Bridgeport.
    We will never move forward as long as we keep electing the same type politicians time and time again.
    We need to tell the business council thanks for renting office space but it’s time for you and Timpanelli to loan yourselves to a place that wants to stay stagnant and wither. You all did a great job here in Bridgeport.

  17. Hector, if Bridgeport started to develop and our workforce came home to work it would cost Stamford a hell of a lot of money in wage increase because where are the workers going to come from if they stay in Bridgeport?


      1. Hector, you are going back over 50 years, don’t forget we had Crosswalk Mall down on State and Lafayette. Malls were the new thing erupting around the country.
        The thing that killed downtown stores and the Mall were the Bridgeport Post and surrounding downtown with subsidized housing. Every little crime that was committed was reported by the Post when it happened in Bridgeport. There were rapes, body dumps and many other serious crimes at Trumbull Mall and they went basically unreported.
        The other problem was and is we elect crooks to office, we have been doing it for years. They all and I mean all have their hands out.
        I had a friend who wanted to invest $1 million in the bath house at Seaside, it was up for bid. He showed the park dept his plans and financing, the park department approved and the contract was sent to the city attorney. It was approved with the caveat my friend visit a local Democratic lawyer and bring $35K. He told the powers that be to screw off.
        You see the Feds other than Ganim allow for this to happen. JML and I presented evidence obtained thru FOI that the council was illegally spending taxpayers’ money. The council spent money on donations to charities. Council people used their stipend to shop at Stop & Shop over 50 times, council people used their stipend to pay their cable bill. What has been done? Nothing.
        Where is the Connecticut rag? They are writing feel-good stories about Black Rock.
        The Feds will be here.

  18. Steve really, do you read what you write? “Donald Day, I acknowledge the need, I totally support your desire, the people in that neighborhood deserve better, but I still do not know if it is the City government’s responsibility to lure the business.”

    Whose job is it to lure businesses to the city? I remember you touting the great job Mayor Finch did on luring Bass Pro Shops. If luring businesses to the City of Bridgeport isn’t the job of city government then why do we need the Office of Economic Development? Are you saying only certain areas of the city should receive all the benefits of city government?

    1. Donald Day, for this administration it is sad but true. No offense, I have many friends in that dept. Truth be told, in the real world Bridgeport would benefit from beefing up the Dept of Economic development, however if the were all terminated tomorrow, the City would be no worse off. Honestly, it is the truth.

      Philip Kuchma does his own marketing for Bijou Square. Can you tell me any business that came here with the city’s perseverance? The answer is none. Major retailers and grocery chains have in-house real estate professionals whose job it is to scout out sites in area. Home Depot will always be around Lowe’s, CVS will always be around Walgreens. There are surveys done daily targeting neighborhoods. Finding how people spend their money and the needs of the neighborhood. Local Realtors and commercial brokers are forever trying to lure big-box retailers to a major parcel on a major artery.

      It is sad, the City of Waterbury not only refurbished their Polo Majestic Theaters, they also have every big-box retailer you could want. Waterbury has surpassed Bridgeport on many levels.

      Back to your desire, I support it and maybe your local elected officials will get off their asses and do something. I’d start there and it amy make its way to the Mayor and Economic development. These guys are just waiting for business to knock on their door while Milford, Trumbull, Stratford, Norwalk and Stamford are working hard to lure business. Twenty-five years ago my title was business recruiter and after a huge marketing plan was developed, Ganim came in and decided my Bridgeport cheerleading was not necessary. Here we are 25 years later. How did his 10 corrupt years in office help your neighborhood? Grocery store or not, people there would still vote for him.

      Good luck with the supermarket. If the City can make it happen, great. We need private investors. The less involvement from the City, the better.

  19. Steve, that was great and so true. You are right on the money about neighboring towns. One of Bridgeport’s main hindrances at this point will be neighboring towns that have reinvented themselves. Fairfield has a movie theatre, it is attracting businesses, eateries, shops, you name it. Milford has reinvented its downtown, and so has Shelton and others. By the time Bridgeport has Steelepointe ready it will be too late because businesses will just target these other hubs that are more vibrant, and have more disposable income. Just imagine if Steelepoint were to open Bass Pro and it were to close seven years later. Then what? Well the more these other towns develop the more likely it is Steelepointe will fail.

    Bridgeport has a horrible image and what was Kooris thinking about in having public housing in a downtown area that is trying to reinvent itself? All you need is more panhandlers, soliciting, loitering, and if there is a shoot-out right across from the Webster Bank stadium and Harbor Yard area you can kiss this all goodbye because families WILL NOT come down to Bridgeport.

      1. Ron, I am so glad you posted this article. It allows you to have some insight into my belief and the community I am associated with. I am a conservative Jew. I am not kosher, I was Bar Mitzvahed at Rodolph Shalom on Park Ave. I go to both Rodolph Shalom and Bnai Torah on Park Ave. A reform temple which has many black and gay congregants. I believe in peace in the middle east. I believe in a Palestinian state. I believe in a Peace process and remain forever hopeful. I take my faith very seriously as well as celebrating all my Christian and Muslim friends’ holidays without the fear G-d will be pissed. I can read the Torah in Hebrew backwards and forwards and can discuss Christian and Muslim issues removing all veils.

        Now, discussing Eric Cantor and his recent loss. I have no respect for Eric Cantor. I am glad he lost. His wife ironically, is a huge Democrat, which is as funny to acknowledge as James Carville and his wife.

        When I vote, I do not vote for an individual because we share the same religion no more than I am attracted to anyone because we share the same sex. I would never vote for the likes of Eric Cantor, I do not agree with any of his ideals. I am glad we share the same faith but that’s where our similarities end.

        Hispanic and black as well as other minorities should also be a little more aware other than race and religion. I would happily support, endorse and work for a Muslim candidate as long as I shared their ideology in issues that were important to me.

        Ron Mackey, the biggest supporters of Israel appear to be conservatives. The Mike Huckabees and Sarah Palins of the world. They disgust me and they are the problems with friction in the middle east. They disrespect Palestinians and Muslims. They would love war hoping to bring on Armageddon.

        I appreciate your article, I get the impression you were expecting me to fear his loss. I am grateful.

        My personal belief has always been we are in this together. I do not care if you are black or white, Jew, Christian, Buddhist, Taoist, Agnostic, atheist etc.

        We are all part of the same fabric and for me personally, it’s all about the food. As a Jew I can proudly say I am an awesome cook of all Arabic delicacies. Not too shabby on every other ethnic restaurant that I enjoy patronizing. You have friends from many cultures, you travel the world and you learn. I used to enjoy an incredible life.

        It’s not so terrible now. 🙂

          1. Unlike yourself, I do not follow the Jewish lobbyists or follow what they expect from an American President. One thing I do know, without question. If the United States were not benefiting from supporting Israel, they would not. Let’s remember during WWII the United States sent back ships with Jews on board, sending them back to certain death. Again, the Jewish lobbyist do what every other lobbyist does. If we as a country did not benefit from our support of Israel I am certain we would not. I am an American Jew. My family is of German and Austrian extraction. Of my Grandmothers lineage, Spanish/Sephardic Jews expelled during the courts of inquisition. The town in Germany was Stanislaw. Eight hundred years ago my family left Palestine for Iran and Morocco making their way to Eastern Europe and Spain. I support Israel and I have been to Israel. They have truly turned the desert into a magnificent oasis. It is my hope the Jews and Palestinians Christian and Muslim work together to improve the quality of life for all people. Ron, I was also very excited when Israel airlifted thousands and thousands of Ethiopian Jews to the land of Israel followed by thousands and thousands of Ethiopian Christians who converted from Judaism to save their lives. As the only democracy in the middle east as well as the most liberal I am not sure what your point was, Ron. I am not an Israeli, I am an American and embrace all our melting-pot cultures. I am the wrong person to bring up Jews and Israel when you are trying to make a point about black America. One might mistakenly label you a racist.

          1. Crown Heights? Why are you talking about Chassidic Jews from Crown Heights? For your education Ron, they are equivalent to Amish. They are ultra-orthodox and do not socialize with any other Jews and do not support Israel. They have about as much use for me as they have for you. You really need to stop judging people in groups.

          1. Ron, I suppose it is in America’s best interest to have peace in the middle east as is Israel’s. Our only ally there and the only democracy. That does make sense to you, no? It probably doesn’t but that is okay as it is no desire of mine to make you a supporter of Israel. This blog was about Bridgeport development, you always turn things into a black issue. I am not interested in defending Jewish issues to you as I am not looking for your approval or support. I do not live my life as a Zionist as I am American. I do know my full history and my relationship to Eretz Israel, I am not sure what this has to do with a grocery store in the East End or the cure for American racism. But then again it has nothing to do with the price of eggs in China. Is that a subject you are interested in? Because I am done talking about what Finch owes the black community and satisfying their desire for a grocery store. I said it before, educate the community on minority business loans and let’s see a success story in Bridgeport. You will not see a major supermarket chain in the East End until Steelepointe has 1500 units of housing to support it. That’s my last comment on a grocery store, the Jewish lobby and being black and downtrodden in the East End.

    1. No Ron, you were not sleeping. There is still a huge race problem in This country. Mostly ingrained in the Republican party and Evangelical Christians. I am more interested in addressing your next post.

      1. Steve, my only point is groups and voters have right and duty to petition their elected officials for a grocery or for America to give Israel money and weapons.

          1. Steven Auerbach // Jul 12, 2014 at 10:51am, you said this. “OMG, imagine that, your continually making these issues about race is demeaning. It is about socioeconomic issues.” Steve, was it socioeconomic issues for America to give weapons and money to Israel when the American Jewish lobby goes asking America for help overseas? You have no problems with the word “Jewish” being used but you have a problem when I use the word “black,” it’s demeaning, that’s two-faced of you.

          2. Ron Mackey, I have to be honest. I have no fucking idea what you are talking about. I have no idea why you are talking about the ducking Jewish lobby. The article was about the development director, city of Bridgeport and a grocery store. When I choose to discuss the Jewish lobby it will not be with you. And to be honest Ron, on that subject I could care less what your opinion is or what you believe. As you know we all have our own agenda. I will not care about yours and you will not care about mine. It’s all good.

  20. Steven Auerbach, you are correct when you said, “The article was about the development director, city of Bridgeport and a grocery store.” But on Jul 12, 2014 at 10:51am, you said this. “OMG, imagine that, your continually making these issues about race is demeaning.” You decided to make it personal by attacking me with your comment because you didn’t like me using the word black.

    Donald Day and Andy Fardy made a number of great points.

    Andrew C Fardy // Jul 10, 2014 at 3:29 pm “Donald, it’s a concerted effort to spread the black economic power around in other areas. It’s an effort to keep the minority voters on the move.”

    Donald Day // Jul 11, 2014 at 8:54 pm “Whose job is it to lure businesses to the city? I remember you touting the great job Mayor Finch did on luring Bass Pro Shops. If luring businesses to the City of Bridgeport isn’t the job of city government then why do we need the Office of Economic Development? Are you saying only certain areas of the city should receive all the benefits of city government?”

    These statements show groups and voters have the right and duty to petition their elected officials for a grocery or whatever they feel is needed in their district. But once again you don’t like me saying “black” and you feel you can say anything to me. You had no problems talking about Jews and notice, I never said anything bad about the American Jewish lobby or about you. Steve, you are the one who ran off talking Jewish issues, I was only comparing the rights of “blacks” to petition the government are the same as someone Jewish but not you because you don’t like the word “black,” that’s your problem because I will use it when talking about my people.


Leave a Reply