Bridgeport by 2029: new housing, train station

A new East Side train station and thousands of new apartments could be in Bridgeport’s future, according to a draft of the 10-year Master Plan of Conservation and Development.

“It gets right to the point of what the city is trying to achieve,” said Lynn Haig, director of Bridgeport’s planning and zoning commission, referring to the 171-page document.

City officials will be holding a public hearing at 6:30 p.m. Monday at 45 Lyon Terrace presenting details and giving the public a chance to weigh in on what Bridgeport should look like in the next 10 years.

Improvements to public transit and walkability — among other things — play a major role in development and growth plans for the city, according to the draft. That includes securing funding and building the Barnum Station between Seaview Avenue and Pembroke Street which has been touted for years as another economic driver for Bridgeport’s regrowth.

The draft also calls for an overhaul of housing development around the city, with a large portion centered near the downtown area. The city wants around 4,300 housing units less than a mile from the downtown train station.

The trove of housing would also include hundreds of new affordable housing units and more almost 2,000 units of mixed income living outside of the downtown area.

Overall liveabilty in the city over the next decade has become a priority for officials as well, according to Haig. When the city first announced its need for a new master plan, there was a focus on getting public feedback on what residents would want and need to see covered.

The city and its consultant, Hartford-based Fitzgerald and Halliday Inc., under the Plan Bridgeport initiative, attended local summer events like the Caribbean Jerk Fest and the annual picnic at Seaside Park for senior citizens asking questions.

Six meetings on different topics — open space, transportation, quality of life, arts, housing and economic development — were scheduled in neighborhoods around the city.

“From doing the outreach, people didn’t just want to talk about buildings and roads,” said Dean Mack, project manager for the city’s Planning and Zoning commission. “Issues that really impact people in the city are equity and health care and public safety, so it felt strange to do a comprehensive plan on the city and not touch on the things that most worry about.”

Points within the draft call for improved education and employment opportunities for residents while protecting “vulnerable populations such as the economically disadvantaged, racial and ethnic minorities, those with alternative lifestyles, low-income children, the elderly, the homeless, and those with chronic health conditions, including severe mental illness.”

“This plan introduces health and social issues,” Haig said. “Those are concepts that are generally not addressed in plans of conservation and development, but we are doing it here because there is such an integral part of how our city operates and functions.”

For residents unable to attend Monday’s meeting there is another public hearing on April 22, and a new website with more details on the draft is slated to launch in May.

For more information, call 203-576-7221.