NORWALK, CT - Local leaders on Monday announced that Norwalk has been selected as one of five municipalities to be awarded a grant from the Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation through the Vibrant Communities Initiative.
The $50,000 grant will fund a preservation plan for the Lexington Avenue residential area, long home to the city’s factory workers. The plan will build on current housing initiatives to preserve the neighborhood as a center of affordability and explore the feasibility of a National Register district. The City of Norwalk intends to investigate preservation tools such as tax credits and low-interest loans. The City of Norwalk will also incorporate the area into the Transit Oriented Development plan, including input from key stakeholders from the community, the City, and the Redevelopment Agency.
“Protecting the unique character and affordability of our historic neighborhoods is something that sets Norwalk apart from other cities,” said Senator Bob Duff (D-Norwalk). “This grant will help the process of revitalizing Lexington Avenue bringing new quality housing, small businesses and transportation resources to the neighborhood.”
Norwalk Mayor Harry Rilling stated, “With the increase in development in the immediate area, the historic buildings along Lowe and Lexington Ave are already coming under threat of demolition, which could displace many low-income residents and small businesses. We wish to protect this historic area and create a plan to preserve its structures for housing, commerce, and worship.”
“This funding is an important investment for a long neglected neighborhood,” said Rep. Bruce Morris (D-Norwalk). “It will help the city provide for the future sustainability and growth of the Lexington Avenue area. The historic character of this neighborhood is an asset to Norwalk and we need to do whatever we can to stimulate investment and improve its quality of life.”
“As Chair of the Historical Commission, I am pleased to receive these grant monies to be used in the preservation of the Lexington Ave., Ely and Lowe Street area,” said Dave Westmoreland. “Not only are there many great old buildings in this area, I look forward to working with all interested parties on this matter.”
Helen Higgins, Executive Director of the Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation said, “The City of Norwalk's Lexington Avenue Feasibility Project embodies the Connecticut Trust's goals to implement preservation plans that protect all our historic neighborhoods, but especially those with buildings at risk of demolition which would displace many low-income residents and small businesses.”
The initiative, funded by the State Historic Preservation Office of the Department of Economic and Community Development, with funds from the Community Investment Act, helps Connecticut municipalities to plan and act on preserving historic resources, to enhance and protect cultural landscapes, to promote preservation for downtown revitalization, and to revitalize historic villages, neighborhoods, or downtowns. In addition to the funding, Connecticut Trust Circuit Rider Brad Schide will continue to work with the City of Norwalk to carry out the grant project.