2021 Wish List for city
With the first issue of the New Year, the West Haven Voice traditionally opens with a top three issues we hope are resolved in the next 12 months. The year 2020 was by all accounts a unique on in the history of this community as it looks to close its first century as an independent municipality this year. Much of what we hope for in 2021 is similar to those things we’ve written about in previous years, but each year there is a new twist.
City Development – There is not doubt that 2020 saw at least some progress in the area of adding to the city’s tax base. As the year closed, we saw purchases of properties in Allingtown, the announcement of a Front Avenue Enterprise Zone that – it is hoped – will jumpstart development in an area of town that has been much neglected.
Add to that at least the beginning of work at the Haven Project, and we see inroads to new development, and a larger grand list that will take the burden of taxation away from homeowners in the long term. The good news included smaller items like the potential sale of the Savin Rock Conference Center. This will result either in the rehabilitation or demolition of the aging structure with the addition of new restaurants and other amenities. Best of all, the Savin Rock Museum will be included in the plans as well as a potential for the long-delayed carousel.
For the first time in many years, we can actually see some progress in expanding the tax base, and thus making our city more attractive not only to business, but to those who might want to live in a shoreline community.
Increased enforcement of blight ordinances – A continued problem in the city is the lack of consistent enforcement of blight regulation. Part of the problem – a major part, in fact – is the absentee ownership the city has for much of its rental properties. This has created a laxity that hurts us all.
Cars parked on front lawns is getting to be a major problem in certain parts of the city. There is no reason for this. It has the effect of making the city look shabby, and its resident look careless.
A second problem, of course, is property upkeep. This has been a problem for decades. It goes beyond peeling paint or deteriorating porches. It goes to lawns left uncut, debris allowed to collect, and damaged areas left unrepaired. Many residents complain of the lack of enforcement; but, it has to start with residents themselves, and then enforcement can take place. Worry about your own area, and the rest will follow.
Increase in park maintenance and upkeep – This is a quality-of-life issue, and has as much to do with making the city better as the issues mentioned above. City parks are kept up to the best of the Dept. of Public Works ability. We wonder though, if this should be moved out of that department and back under Park-Rec as it was prior to the 1990s.
This is no reflection on the ability of the DPW workers, but they have other, more pressing things to deal with than park maintenance. This is particularly true of city playing fields, which have suffered over the last several years. In particular we think of Painter Park, where the place has looked very shabby for years. It was once a showplace. It is, by no means, the only park suffering.
We need people dedicated to maintenance and care of our parks, cleaning them, prepping them, and making them a source of pride for our community.
These are just three issues we hope to see addressed in 2021. Let us hope the New Year brings a better quality of life to the city’s residents.