Don’t Mess With The Magnet School

Magnet school rendering
Magnet school rendering.

An intriguing configuration of Bridgeport area characters may intervene in the land use approval process for the regional science magnet high school including the town of Trumbull, and in an unrelated issue attorneys on behalf of a business partner of Gus Curcio, the city’s “exotic dancers” night club entrepreneur, whose property on Greenwood Street is critical to alleviate North End flooding.

Yes, that’s a mouthful, and it would be a shame if any of this gets in the way of the Fairchild Wheeler Magnet School on the Planning & Zoning Commission agenda for Monday night.

Both Bridgeport and Trumbull officials appeared to be happy when the state approved a land transfer that placed Trumbull property in Bridgeport for construction of the school. In return Trumbull received a piece of state land in Bridgeport it can use, including the city’s Parks Department building, for possible recreation use that the town must negotiate with the state Department of Environmental Protection for approval. Trumbull officials want their piece of the land deal resolved before the school project can move forward. Bridgeport officials say Trumbull officials knew (or should have known) when the deal was granted that the town must move through the state DEP regulatory process.

School construction would be a major accomplishment for Mayor Bill Finch who wants to take pressure off the antiquated Harding High School. The regional high school provides Bridgeport 1,000 spots in the 1,500-student school.

The city has built a number of middle schools with modern technology. The big issue, according to city educators, comes when kids segue from state-of-the-art middle school facilities to antiquated high schools. Harding High, in particular, is a major problem. The mayor sees this $125 million school as both unique in its science and math curriculum, that includes information technology, aerospace and zoology, as well as lessening the strain on Harding.

What does Curcio have to do with this? Curcio’s business partner Darlene Chapdelaine, a principal of Greenwood Manor LLC and legal representatives have been in conversations with the city and state Department of Environmental Protection for the city to purchase roughly 10 acres on Greenwood Street for open space and a retention pond to address neighborhood flooding. Chapdelaine sought P&Z approval to change the zone classification of the property, in what critics say was an attempt to drive up the cost of the land. City planners denied the request. An application to zone the property for a cemetery has also been submitted to city planners. Does the city need another graveyard?

And now there’s a lot of chatter that lawyers for the Greenwood Street principals may claim that representations made in discussions with the city involving the school property impact a potential Greenwood Street deal. What could that be? An environmental claim? Is this a stick-up attempt to force a purchase of the Greenwood Street property? Stay tuned for Monday’s P&Z session.



  1. What the hell does one property have to do with the other? This is all bullshit.
    They did the old-fashioned property sale and want a change of zoning on the Greenwood property so they can inflate the price when they sell it to the city. Take the damn property through eminent domain.
    Trumbull is just breaking balls pure and simple. Herbst does not like Finch and will do anything to make him look bad (that’s not hard).

    1. Herbst has an election this year, too. Maybe he’s getting some pushback from the neighborhood and is having second thoughts. Maybe he’s looking for a way out.

  2. There is more to this than meets the eye. It will bail out several Finch supporters with a pecuniary interest in this property. Maybe they could make it a pet cemetery.

  3. Does anyone have plain common sense? The purchase of this property would solve many of the current issues. (1) They spent over $100K on consultants to figure out Storm Water Management and we need a small portion that would aid with that. (2) All of you who do not own property should keep your comments to yourselves … everyone has a right to get the highest and best use of their property as does Darlene Chapdelaine the owner of the property at this time. Get over yourselves … if you do not want something in your back yard or neighborhood then grow up and purchase it … get into your own pocketbooks not the taxpayers’ … oh that is right you would all have to work instead of writing BS on a blog all day … This property has been and will be approved for all approved uses if the owner deems it appropriate and she is the only one who will make that decision as any property owner would. 🙂 Smile, sunshine …


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