Fair Haven is a Diverse Community with a Rich History and a Beautiful Waterfront
Since I could not stay for the entire meeting, I wanted to add my suggestion for a new use of the Strong School.
Despite the diversity of the neighborhood on both sides of the river, we don't have the variety of retail that I personally would like to see. There used to be a lot of good stores on both sides and both ends of the Bridge, but some were lost to fire and some to development. Fair Haven has a lot of retail, but Fair Haven Heights does not.
The Strong School is perfect for an Antiques and Artisans Center because of the space, its location and the parking in back.
We could have an antique shop with multiple small dealers paying rent, plus space for local artists and artisans to exhibit their creations. Many shops exist all over the state, but there is currently only one shop alongside I-95 near the Home Depot that has such a set up. And it appears to be thriving.
I've had to take my antiques and collectibles to Chester, CT to find something affordable.
This use would put the property on the tax rolls, but more importantly, create a destination attractive to people from all over.
It would not be difficult to include a small coffee shop, but nothing should compete with existing businesses.
Perhaps City officials could advise us as to how to obtain rehabilitation loans. The building could be purchased by a Cooperative or by an LLC with investors. Fereshteh Bekhrad might have some ideas on that, as well as how to convert the building most economically.
I've included some paintings by artist Brian Gill Wendler as one example of the talent around us that needs a space to exhibit.