Call goes out for Fort Trumbull development ideas

New London - City leaders have been meeting since August with urban planners from Yale University to study Fort Trumbull and development possibilities there.

On Saturday, the city and the Yale Urban Design Workshop are hoping residents will share their ideas for the waterfront peninsula during a workshop from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Fort Trumbull State Park conference center.

Coffee and cookies will be provided, and a children's table will be available.

"Our intent is to gain community buy-in, on both sides,'' City Councilor Adam Sprecace said. "We want any and all ideas. We don't want people to hold back."

No idea will be considered too outrageous to talk about, he said. Registration is not required, but individuals planning to participate should email Sprecace at asprecace@ci.new-london.ct.us.

Sprecace helped bring in Alan Plattus, director of the Yale-affiliated group and associate dean and professor at Yale School of Architecture, to try and unite a city divided over the development of Fort Trumbull and the city's use of eminent domain.

The city undertook a multimillion-dollar, 90-acre redevelopment project, funded almost entirely by the state, 10 years ago to clear the Fort Trumbull peninsula for new development that was expected to bring new jobs and tax revenues to the city.

The New London Development Corp., a quasi-public group that spearheaded the project, used eminent domain after several homeowners balked at moving. The case went to the U.S. Supreme Court, which upheld the city's use of eminent domain.

Some ideas for Fort Trumbull, discussed during monthly steering committee meetings, include expanding rail service and building a bridge from that area to the downtown to connect the two bodies of land, which are separated by Shaw's Cove.

The steering committee will draft a plan after the workshop and present it to the public by midsummer. A final plan with a presentation at a public hearing will be held in early fall.

Plattus met with city officials and residents last year and proposed a $37,500 three-phase plan that included reviewing current proposals, documenting and analyzing the site, developing schematic urban design options and preparing plans and architectural renderings for the area.

k.edgecomb@theday.com

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