Bridgeport removing blighted structures to make way for renewal

A crew from Connecticut Dismantling knocks down a house at 1793 Stratford Ave. in Bridgeport, part of the city's anti-blight initiative. (John Kovach Photo)

A crew from Connecticut Dismantling knocks down a house at 1793 Stratford Ave. in Bridgeport, part of the city’s anti-blight initiative. (John Kovach Photo)

The sun shone brightly down on the dilapidated house at the corner of Stratford Avenue and Freeman Street Thursday morning, April 25. Neighbors gathered on the porches of nearby single-family houses, greeting the rebirth that would follow the day of destruction.

As part of Mayor Bill Finch’s anti-blight initiative, 1793 Stratford Avenue was demolished Thursday, clearing an abandoned, decaying multi-family house to allow a new use on the lot.

What was a multi-family house at the corner of Stratford Avenue and Freeman Street in Bridgeport stands moments from demolition on Thursday, April 25. (John Kovach Photo)

What was a multi-family house at the corner of Stratford Avenue and Freeman Street in Bridgeport stands moments from demolition on Thursday, April 25. (John Kovach Photo)

“Obviously this neighborhood is interested in seeing more housing opportunities and jobs,” Finch said, standing among members of the East End Community Council as he spoke to assembled TV cameras.

The property recently was purchased by the Bridgeport Neighborhood Trust, which plans to build affordable housing.

Connecticut Dismantling, based in Bridgeport is under contract for several of the demolition projects, said Chris Winer, who as project leader navigates the permitting and permission process that takes so long.

Once permission to tear down the building is granted, it takes only hours to raze it, days to clear the debris, Winer said.

The city has 30 or 40 “pockmarks on our community,” Finch said of such blighted properties. But taking possession of them so they can be cleared is a years-long process, Finch said.

The city currently has three properties queued up for demolition and more have a series of other properties at various stages in the procedure.

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