Greenwich ‘creates opportunity’ by starting on Phase II of work at Armstrong Court
It was a big day last week for Greenwich Communities as it broke ground officially for continued improvement work at Armstrong Court.
On May 1, Greenwich Communities, formerly known as the Housing Authority of the town of Greenwich, held a ceremony to mark the start of Phase II of the Armstrong Court project.
In Phase I, 18 new townhouses were built in the complex. For Phase II, buildings 1, 3 and 6 will be renovated, turning the one- and two-bedroom units into three-bedroom units, with new kitchens and other improvements. It will also create handicapped accessible units.
The three-bedroom units are in high demand among families, according to Greenwich Communities.
The groundbreaking was attended by First Selectman Fred Camillo, Selectperson Jill Oberlander, former First Selectman Peter Tesei and former Selectman John Toner as well as state Reps. Kimberly Fiorello, R-149, and Stephen Meskers, D-150, and former Rep. Livvy Floren.
U.S. Rep. Jim Himes, D-4, was also there. A town resident, Himes is a former member of the Housing Authority’s Board of Commissioners.
“Projects like this happen because you have leadership … because there is a partnership,” Himes said at the ceremony. “That is where opportunity comes from. … Thank you, Greenwich, for showing the world how you create opportunity.”
Sam Romeo, chair of the Greenwich Communities Board of Commissioners, celebrated the partnerships that make affordable housing possible.
“We are truly a partner so we can do other projects,” Romeo said. “They allow us to do what we do.”
The project was praised by Masouda Omar, managing director of multifamily housing development for the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority, which provided $5.3 million in tax-exempt bonds and $7.3 million in construction loans as well tax credits for the project.
“Armstrong Court is an endorsement for the belief that affordable housing will be transformational for the residents,” Omar said. “You and your partners are creating a vibrant community where people can build the lives they want, plan for the future and celebrate their milestones.”
Local nonprofits can still apply to the Greenwich United Way for community impact grants.
Last month, the Greenwich United Way awarded more than $645,000 in grants to local health, education and self-sufficiency programs across 22 of its partner agencies.
The deadline to apply for the next round of grants is May 14. Eligible nonprofits can apply by sending an email to the Greenwich United Way’s senior director of community impact at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The community investment grants are awarded after a “rigorous review process” by volunteers that includes looking over the applications, evaluating financials and making site visits.
“Our team of volunteers does extensive research to prioritize the many unmet needs in town and then fund the best solutions to address those needs,” said David Rabin, CEO of Greenwich United Way. “Because of the generosity of the people of Greenwich donating time, talent and capital, we are able to help the nearly one-third of all Greenwich residents who need it most.”
The Emily Catherine Fedorko Foundation will host a special event to allow people to trade in their old life vests and get new ones.
The “Swap Your Life Jackets for Emily” event will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. May 22 at the Innis Arden Cottage at Greenwich Point.
There is a limited supply of the new Coast Guard-approved vests. Resident who want to participate are urged to sign up in advance at https://emsway.org/life-jacket-swap/.
The foundation was formed in memory of Old Greenwich resident Emily Fedorko, who died in a 2014 boating accident at the age of 16. Her parents set up the foundation to promote water safety
“From the start of the foundation, a main area of focus has been to make sure boaters have the right life jacket protection,” said Joe Fedorko, Emily’s father. “The orange life vests are a requirement and serve a great importance in an emergency. However, with today’s technology, we have much better options. We hope that our special trade-in day at Tod’s Point goes a long way to increase boater safety.”
The foundation is also focused on its efforts with the Greenwich Point Conservancy to restore the Chimes Tower “to their melodic glory.”
Once the work is done, the plan is to rename the tower as Emily’s Chimes. There will be a new water safety center at the base of the tower, which was built in 1901 and overlooks Long Island Sound. For more information, visit www.emsway.org.
One of the downtown’s best-known restaurants was recently honored for its work in the community.
The Everest Leadership Academy, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping children in underserved communities and schools “reach their full potential as leaders,” gave its Greenwich Community Leadership Award to L’escale Restaurant Bar.
According to the academy, it recognized business leadership that has shown perseverance throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and acted as role models for academy students.
“Throughout the pandemic, L’escale has not only found a way to stay open and keep its employees working, but they have also shown their ability to pivot when presented with obstacles,” the academy said in a statement. “Good leadership is not necessarily all that difficult during the good times, but exemplary leadership is required during extremely difficult times such as the COVID-19 pandemic. L’escale, the management team and staff have achieved that status.”
“This award is a testament to the commitment and ingenuity L’escale and its staff have shown throughout the past year, and the leadership skills it took to ensure their customers a five-star dining experience during the pandemic,” said Ray Sozzi Sr., the academy’s founder and CEO.
“It is always an honor to get this kind of recognition by our peers and incredible organizations like The Everest Leadership Academy,” said David Fletcher, Director of Operations, L’escale. “This past year has been a very difficult one for all restaurant businesses and every member of the L’escale staff has worked tremendously hard.”
For more information about the nonprofit academy, visit www.everestla.org.