Letter — Creative thinking needed for mall
To the editor:
The slick developers’ website and mailers to Trumbull residents extol, “Malls across the country - especially successful ones - are adapting by, diversifying land uses (housing, office, etc.), creating main streets and connections to surrounding communities, and focusing on experiential products and services,” this according to The Residences At Main, a 260-unit apartment complex project being proposed in collaboration with the Westfield Trumbull mall property.
However, all you need is to listen to Tom Madden, executive director of economic development in Stamford, who says, “Malls are a gateway to the past, and people just aren’t going into them anymore. We are going in a much different direction, so as we plan, we focus on how we can have the best”.
With one after another anchor store closing or declaring bankruptcy, and smaller stores struggling to remain open, the downward spiral of Westfield Trumbull is not difficult to imagine. I have advocated that Westfield Trumbull offer a comprehensive plan, including residential, retail, dining, and entertainment to show the community what their corporate intentions are to the nearly 80 acres of property they currently own, not merely the development of an apartment complex on 8 of those acres.
A one-dimensional plan may serve the corporate interest, but it comes at the expense of the community’s interest.
Another complex in the hundreds adds increased pressure on our education system, public safety, and other town services, including parks and already well used river trail.
Trumbull residents deserve an open and transparent conversation about the town’s largest taxpayer.
A vision borne out of creative thinking is needed to support reasonable, responsible, and controlled development in Trumbull.
A conversation is vocal not silent; it is transparent, not left to rumor. Just this past week Mayor Ben Blake of Milford left no doubt on his position when a similar proposal was floated on the Milford Westfield Post Mall site. Blake told News 8, “That would throw everything in a tailspin, and in my opinion, it’s just wrong-headed.”
I agree with Mayor Blake. This stand-alone Trumbull proposal is the wrong expansion today because it is singular, not comprehensive in scope. It is a project, not a plan.
If The Residences at Main is as advertised, a development that offers a “town center style community,” it’s time we see a full plan, not a piecemeal approach to development, but a comprehensive one. An approach where our residents do not receive slick developer’s mailers, but vocal leadership from those elected to serve the interests of the community. It is time our town government works to protect the interests of all our residents by speaking out to ensure Trumbull continues to be a community of choice, not one of ever more rising apartment complexes with no real inter-connectivity to the community as a whole.
Mark Block, secretary