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FOR BY A GRANT FROM THE COMMUNITY FOUNDATION FOR GREATER NEW HAVEN
Volume 5, Number
3 October 20, 2001
OPERA HOUSE REVIVED!!!
Sterling Opera House came to a brief but enlightening life on Monday, September
10th as the Save Our Sterling group organized a tour and acoustic demonstration
at the historic structure in downtown Derby.
Tenor Gary Harger sang a haunting and appropriate rendition of
"Music of the Night" from the Phantom of the Opera musical.
the lights on stage have been dimmed for more than fifty years, it was obvious
that the building's acoustics are still a marvel as Harger's voice filled the
spacious building without the benefit of any electronic enhancement.
Mayor Marc Garofalo spoke briefly and positively concerning the future of the
building, noting that a marketing feasibility study is underway now.
Both S.O.S. and City Officials recognize that funding for the project
will come from State and Federal sources, and not from City money.
draws boisterous crowd at City Hall Hearings
public hearings at Derby's City Hall have sparked intense feelings both for and
against the controversial plan for redeveloping Derby's blighted Hawkins and
Anson Street neighborhood. Most
people present agreed that the troubled area has seen a decline in recent years
as an undesirable element has become more prevalent and drug use has become more
proposed redevelopment will significantly increase the assessed value of the
area and increase the City's tax revenue. Current
estimates predict an increase in property tax revenue of about three-quarters of
a million dollars annually.
City has selected a developer from New Jersey, Duke Realty, Inc., who was the
only applicant to respond to the City's Request for Proposals last spring.
HALO Project, continued
firms received copies of the City's Request for proposals (RFP).
In order to proceed with the HALO project, one hundred and thirty-five
individual property owners will be required to sell their homes and rental
properties to Duke Realty, a move that some observers feel is not going to
happen without a fight.
was leveled by some participants concerning Duke Realty's Baron Block on Anson
Street, a building that most people familiar with the situation believe
characterizes t he types of problems the neighborhood faces rather than
representing any sort of a solution.
faces a tough decision concerning the proposed redevelopment and indeed the
future of the downtown as well. The
area's past history has shown that inaction leads to deterioration of buildings,
reduction in tax income from the blighted areas and a marked increase in the
need for City services. Whether the
HALO neighborhood's root problem stems from irresponsible absentee landlords or
the introduction of an unsavory element from outside the Valley due to urban
renewal in other parts of the region, most observers agree that the current
situation would not have been tolerated in the "Old Days" where
neighborhood values and a sense of responsibility in one's family and pride in
one's surroundings seemed more important.
people most affected by the HALO redevelopment will be the older residents and
long-time tax paying property owners who have watched helplessly the slow
decline of the neighborhood. The
HALO plan cannot compensate these residents for their years of frustration
caused largely by a decline in the social fabric beyond the City's control.
and Duke Realty have a responsibility to design and construct a project unlike
the majority of public housing that tends to show a poor track record of
long-term success. The City's
development team must demonstrate to the voting public why the proposed HALO
redevelopment will succeed where so many similar projects have failed.
Family Restaurant on Elizabeth Street in Downtown Derby has recently installed a
wood-fired pizza oven and has been serving delicious homemade pizza in addition
to their regular menu items. This
new addition is well worth a visit the next time the cook in your family
deserves a night off!
new antique shop has opened in downtown Ansonia in the former Ansonia Savings
Bank headquarters on Main Street. Obsidian's
owner Casey Jordan is a newcomer
the region and is a fountain of enthusiasm for the Valley and all it has to
offer. Obsidian offers a wide range
of antique home furnishings, art and interesting objects large and small.
Be sure to pay a visit next time you are in downtown Ansonia.
welcomed a new Italian Restaurant this summer on Main Street.
Fratelli's owner Sabrina Cosaj and her four brothers helped to renovate
the decades-old Main Street location over the past few months and she chose the
name, Italian for "brothers," partly to honor her family's
contribution. To see what beautiful
results they have achieved in the renovations and for a great selection of
Italian dishes, please stop by when you are in Downtown Derby.
greens part of State Historic
announced in the Sept./Oct. issue the introduction of a statewide town green
database, available using the URL address http://www.towngreens.com.
The database contains information on every one of Connecticut's 172 town
greens, including both Derby's downtown and Academy Hill greens.
East Derby's Academy Hill green dates from 1681, one of the earliest in
the State. Downtown's Birmingham
green is later, having been laid out in 1839.
The Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation publishes the Preservation News as part of its efforts to raise awareness of
historic preservation issues around the region and the State.
Copies of Preservation News are available at the Derby Neck Library Downtown
Sterling Opera House Benefit Soiree
Thursday evening, October 4th, an evening of traditional Neapolitan music was
enjoyed by over 120 people at the Royale Restaurant on Roosevelt Drive in Derby.
Save Our Sterling's Harvey Bletchman acted as Master of Ceremonies and
first introduced Coastal Chordsmen member Hy Schwartz who led the attendees in a
rendition of "God Bless America."
The program moved on to the Neapolitan selections performed by Fabio
Lucarelli and his son Fabio III. Derby's
Mayor Marc Garofalo helped behind the scenes by arranging to loan Fabio III an
accordion when Fabio's turned up with a broken part.
Tenor Gary Harger also performed many Italian melodies which brought back
many memories for the enthusiastic crowd.
A hot and cold hors d'oeuvres buffet was prepared and served by Dom Pirrintino and the staff of the Royale. This event was partially funded by the Community Foundation for Greater New Haven. An eighth event designed to raise awareness concerning the Sterling Opera House is planned for early next year.