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Community College For Downtown Ansonia?

by Jodie Mozdzer Gil | Apr 11, 2012 1:28 am

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Posted to: Ansonia, Education

Ansonia is looking to get out of its contract to sell two downtown buildings to Duke Realty, a development company that proposed building 55 condominium units there.

Those condominium plans never came to fruition and now the city wants to explore other options for the sites at 153 Main St. and 497 East Main St.

On the top of the list right now: space for an annex location of the Housatonic Community College.

Ansonia officials recently toured the building with HCC president Anita Gliniecki, according to Mayor James Della Volpe.

“She liked it because it has bus routes, it has the train right across the street,” Della Volpe said Tuesday. “The only concern she has is the governor saying she might have to cut her budget.”

A call seeking comment from Duke Realty’s attorney, John Sponheimer, was not returned Monday or Tuesday.

City officials hope the change of direction will bring traffic to downtown and help attract new business.

“What that’s going to do for our downtown development would just be incredible,” said Ansonia’s Economic Development Commission chairman Vinnie Scarlata. “With an influx of that many students into our downtown, we’re hoping there will be enough incentive for small businesses to be kicking our door down to get into here to be part of it.”

How many students?

Housatonic Community College has 683 students currently enrolled from Ansonia, Derby, Seymour and Shelton. A total of 6,132 students attend the college both full and part time, according to statistics on the school’s website.

Scarlata said all of those students won’t necessarily move to a Valley campus — but an annex location might attract more from the area.

Della Volpe has a meeting scheduled with Gov. Dannel Malloy on Thursday to talk about education issues. Della Volpe said he plans to bring up the Housatonic Community College proposal and seek Malloy’s support.


The first step is to get out of a contract to sell the land to Duke Realty, Della Volpe said.

The city has been in talks with Duke since at least 2003, with hopes the developer would bring condominiums — and more people — to downtown Ansonia.

In 2003, Ansonia chose Duke as its preferred developer for the site. In 2008, the city sold the property to Duke for $1.5 million, according to the New Haven Register report at the time. The sale was contingent on the city doing environmental clean-up at the site.

That clean-up was completed in June 2011.

Della Volpe said the city hasn’t heard anything from Duke about its plans for the site, so now the city wants to move forward with other plans.

“Because of the economy, they haven’t been able to go forward,” Della Volpe said. “And the (Ansonia) Development Corporation is going to meet tomorrow night to vote whether to break the contract with them. Because it’s been long enough. We’ve been sitting around waiting.”

The meeting is scheduled to take place at 5:30 p.m. in the Erlingheuser Room at City Hall.

The two properties back up to each other on the block bordered by East Main Street, Main Street and Kingston Drive.

The Main Street building includes the Senior Center.

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posted by: Marc Weissman on April 11, 2012  10:50am

Fantastic idea! Kudos to Vinnie Scarlata and his team for their creative and forward thinking for the good of the Valley community and beyond, and for already getting that all-important buy-in from the Governor last week during his visit. Nicely done. :)

Local, accessible education at any level is always a worthwhile investment, and given the fact that Ansonia is home to both a “traditional” and a “tech” school, this would bode well for STUDENTS to continue on their respective paths withing the same institution. Plus, given the current job market situation, a community college would also give Valley ADULTS a convenient, affordable opportunity to take some resume-building classes or perhaps even go back full-time and obtain a career-opening degree.

BRAVO! Keep up the good work! :)

posted by: facebook100001571546179 on April 11, 2012  12:33pm

This is the best idea I have seen posted for Ansonia in a very long time!!  Having a community college in Ansonia will not only allow more of our local students to attend college but will also help our local businesses as well as our tax base.

Good job Ansonia, let’s hope it comes to fruition.

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