Long-Awaited Change in the West River Neighborhood

by Frank Panzarella, former board member of West River Neighborhood Services Corporation

For decades, West River residents of New Haven have worked to reconnect the neighborhood cut in half by the misguided urban development nightmare on N. Frontage Road [since renamed MLK Blvd.] and Legion Avenue that attempted to run a major highway through their backyards.

Members of the West River Self Help Investment Program (WRSHIP) created an opportunity to invest in their own neighborhood. Combined with a non-profit development group, the NHP Foundation, they are finally building 56 apartment units, with a community center, coffee shop, bakery, interior parking, a playground and a community gazebo.

These units also sit next to the New Haven United Nations International Peace Garden, created in 2011. This development will bring sorely needed affordable housing to the West River neighborhood.

“The project represents the first new housing to be constructed on a vast stretch of land in New Haven that has been vacant for over four decades,” according to Anthony Dawson, President of WRSHIP and a native of New Haven. It is also a major step for the inclusion of New Haven’s African American community in major economic endeavors. Jerry and Joyce Poole have also been integral leaders working for years to help make this program a reality along with many West River residents.

Named after a well-known leader in the community who championed New Haven’s homeless population and people with AIDS, the complex will be known as the Rev. Curtis M. Cofield II Estates.

The New Haven Independent covered the recent ground-breaking of the development.

You can read about it here: newhavenindependent.org/article/curtts_cofield_estates

Please follow and like us:
Pin Share