Concurrent Session 1C – SoNo Rising: A Tale of a Distressed Neighborhood

Superstorm Sandy was a wake-up call for South Norwalk “SoNo” CT. Significant change was needed for this socio-economically distressed neighborhood located within the 100-yr flood plain of the Norwalk River with a long history of landfilling & industrial use. To address flooding, the elevation of streets & infrastructure, were raised. Redevelopment plans for an obsolete public housing complex significantly impacted by flooding included remediating impacted soils & constructing a new, mixed-income development above the floodplain, which created additional affordable housing. Ryan Park, the sole recreational space in SoNo, which had been closed since the discovery of PCBs, was remediated & redesigned to meet the community needs & was raised to provide dry egress for the neighborhood during future storm events. Cultivated from a HUD Choice Neighborhood grant, the entire City has rallied to revitalize SoNo and the vision for SoNo was developed over an 18 month period through a broad-based, community planning process involving residents, businesses & elected officials. It took many years and required the resources and partnerships of many individuals and organizations to unleash the community’s full potential.