Photo: Jordan Grice / Hearst Connecticut Media

Flood plan might open opportunities in Bridgeport’s South End

Bridgeport, Conn. -- In a new plan to address flooding in the South End of Bridgeport, city officials see an opportunity to kick-start private investment and development in the waterfront area. Bridgeport received more than $50 million in federal grants in the last four years to funding the flood protection project in the South End.

“I think there are many things that our project is directly addressing but also I think we’ve been able to bring together a lot of different stakeholders and spark conversations within the neighborhood that are leading to other projects as well,” said Rebecca French, Director of National Disaster Resilience and Rebuild by Design for the Connecticut Department of Housing and project manager for Resilient Bridgeport.

After several years of drafting, the state Department of Housing released a draft of its plans for the addressing the ongoing flood risks in the South End. The proposal is part of an environmental impact evaluation funded by a pair of national resiliency grants under the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery following Hurricane Sandy.

Barrier to development

Flood regulations have been a barrier to development in South End for years, particularly with project requiring public assistance.

“It’s an impediment that has been there for some time, but one that, I think with Hurricane Sandy, really impacted the market in a way that we hadn’t seen,” said David Kooris, deputy commissioner with the state Department of Economic and Community Development.

Along with being the former director of the Office of Planning and Economic Development for the city of Bridgeport, Kooris served as point person for the Resilient Bridgeport prior to French assuming the role.

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