IMPLEMENTING THE NEIGHBORHOOD PLAN
As guided by the Neighborhood Plan, these are some of the steps GDDC has taken over the last twenty years on behalf of the community: managing properties, negotiating contracts, working with city zoning and planning officials, applying for grants, renovating/building affordable housing, and transforming the community’s schools. The results include:
Supporting the development of the Dwight
Edgewood West River Neighborhood Plan
and its two ten-year updates.
Improving the Edgewood Avenue Education Corridor.
One of the first priorities identified in the plan was the need for additional space in the neighborhood elementary school. GDDC contributed a large part of the local match the New Haven Public Schools needed for State funding to build an addition including a gymnasium for the former neighborhood Timothy Dwight School. This was the first time a neighborhood group had provided most of the local match for a school construction project, and the beginning of a partnership with the New Haven Public School system.
The neighborhood through the Dwight Central Management Team, negotiated long-term community use of the new 10,000 square foot addition which opened in 2001. This agreement continues today with the Amistad Academy charter school that purchased the former Timothy Dwight School. GDDC and the DCMT worked with state legislators to ensure that neighborhood students be given priority within the required city-wide admissions lottery for the Amistad Academy Elementary School.
November 19, 2013
Celebration of more than 1,000 Yale employees who have purchased homes in New Haven since 1994 via the Yale Home Buyer Program. This was a benefit to Yale and also for the re-building of the Dwight Community.
Renovating deteriorated properties for owner
occupants and affordable housing.
Another major goal of the Neighborhood Plan was to support and increase owner-occupied housing in the neighborhood. Many problems are caused by absentee landlords who do not adequately maintain their properties. In 1995-96, GDDC worked with other housing non-profit organizations (Neighborhood Housing Services and the Neighborhood Housing Institute) and a consortium of New Haven banks that owned foreclosed vacant properties. They worked with GDDC to renovate housing on Kensington Street in the heart of Dwight in order to sell to first time homeowners. GDDC continues to create a series of programs to support owner-occupants, providing assistance to over 150 households. Homeowners who maintain their properties properly and participate in neighborhood activities, create a safe and secure community.
DEVELOPING THE DWIGHT PLACE SHOPPING PLAZA
AT 150 WHALLEY AVENUE.
GDDC worked with a private developer on this $15 million project, partnering with the Local Initiative Support Corporation (LISC) and its subsidiary The Retail Initiative (TRI). A $1 million grant from the State of CT to GDDC ensured the neighborhood’s investment and role in the project. The Yale Law Clinic played a major role in negotiating the terms of the agreement and drafting the legal documents. The Plaza is now owned by a GDDC-affiliated corporation. Shaw’s Supermarket opened in the Plaza in 1998 as the initial anchor supermarket, a first in this decade for the neighborhood, followed by Stop and Shop.
By bringing Shaw’s and Stop & Shop to its urban community, GDDC created a shopping experience for New Haven usually found in the upscale suburbs. Building on this successful development, GDDC negotiated the development of the Stop & Shop Fueling Station on an abandoned site adjacent to the shopping center in 2011. Thanks go to the City of New Haven which conveyed this property to GDDC.
April 15, 2011
Pictured here Robin Golden ’79, Sameera Fazili ’06 JD
One of the organizations that helped bring the new Stop & Shop to Dwight Plaza on Whalley Avenue was the Law School’s Ludwig Community Development Program and Clinic. Law School scholar and lecturer Robin Golden, who works with the clinic, talked about the group effort that successfully brought the supermarket to New Haven. This account is adapted from remarks she gave at the grand opening on April 14.
THE STOP & SHOP FUELING STATION.
GDDC negotiated a contract with Stop & Shop to create a new fueling station in an empty lot formerly an abandoned gas station on lower Whalley Avenue. The lot was a dead spot in the neighborhood and the site of numerous undesirable activities. GDDC and DCMT were committed to rebuilding lower Whalley Avenue as it is the gateway for northwestern residents into New Haven. The City of New Haven owned the lot and sold it to one of GDDC’s subsidiary corporations under a Land Disposition Agreement so that it would be developed as a fueling station.
Developing the Alvis Brooker Building.
GDDC worked with local, state, federal and institutional partners to raise $3 million to build the Alvis Brooker Building at 230 Edgewood Avenue which houses the GDDC offices and the Montessori School on Edgewood. The Yale Urban Design Workshop provided the design and construction supervision for a strikingly modern structure.
Creating the Montessori School on Edgewood.
The Montessori School on Edgewood (MSOE) opened in 2006. It is the first publicly supported Montessori School in New Haven. GDDC developed the school with the support of the New Haven School Readiness Program and the CT Department of Social Services in order to provide full-day, full-year childcare and learning experience for children six months to five years old. Because of the availability of several City, State and Federal subsidies, and a generous grant from the William Casper Graustein Memorial Fund, children of all income levels are able to attend MSOE.
Creating and implementing innovative job-training programs.
The Montessori Teacher Training with Gateway Community College and the Center for Montessori Teacher Education and Minority Workers Training Program with the Federal Department of Labor were both created to assist both the new school and the neighborhood residents.
Funding neighborhood clean ups to promote
community spirit and safety.
PLANS FOR THE FUTURE:
- Monitor landlords to ensure that they maintain properties to neighborhood plan standard
- Continue improvements to the neighborhood Education Corridor
- Increase housing opportunities for owner occupants
- Continue to advocate for community policing, working with our district officers through the Dwight Central Management Team
- Expand the Dwight Neighborhood Beautification Program
- Continue to work with housing developers to provide sound housing options for all residents