New Haven Register
December 13, 2000
After several years of economic and community debate, New Haven Mayor John DeStefano Jr. told the New Haven Register that the Long Wharf Mall project is "not right for the city right now." The Mayor further stated that revitalization plans will focus on downtown business and residential development, a strategy long supported by the Connecticut Green Party and the CT Cities Association.
The CT Green Party was a vital member of a large community coalition that defiantly challenged the misinformation and outright lies perpetuated by the project's supporters. The Green Party in particular was able to bring statewide attention to the issue when it invited Green Party presidential candidate Ralph Nader to meet some of the small business owners who were fighting the project and to speak about the issue to a large crowd at the Yale Co-Op. The Green Party also hosted a large anti-mall rally in July on the eve of the last public hearing.
According to Glenn Mirmina, a member of the Green Party's New Haven chapter, "This is the second time (following Stop the Stadium) that the Green Party has helped the citizenry of Connecticut stand up to a wasteful project that was considered a done deal. The Green Party, along with other coalition members, helped to sway public opinion based on the facts and that is what ultimately finished this project."
Tony Santini, Green Party candidate for State Representative, believes the defeat of the Long Wharf project, "frees up the city of New Haven to pursue more appropriate forms of economic development that will be based on community economics and controlled by the people of the community. Hopefully the people of New Haven can now wrest control of community development from the hands of politically connected developers."
Plans to sell the mall site to Westfield America should be pursued cautiously. Development of the 55-acre property still risks producing an environmental disaster for New Haven as the former Pirelli Tires site is a well of toxic waste.