NEW HAVEN -- The Long Wharf District in New Haven, along Interstate 95, has generated more visitors of late with the addition of more food trucks, a cycling track, a refurbished visitors center and a new boathouse.
However, that's nothing compared to what could be on the horizon.
Nobody, including the architects for the Long Wharf District redevelopment, knows how the project will take shape. But one thing is for certain: connecting the city to the waterfront is paramount.
Putting together the plan, as to how the Long Wharf District will morph into more of an economic engine, is expected to take 9 months..
"This is probably one of the greatest harbors anywhere," said Stan Eckstut, of Perkins Eastman, who will assist with the planning, design and strategic implementation of the new Long Wharf.
"It’s not fully realized or taken advantage of. If you go up and down the Long Island sound there’s nothing like it."
Perkins Eastman has redeveloped waterfronts nationwide, including the Baltimore Inner Harbor and recently completed project along the Potomac River.
"We brought the city of Washington to the water pretty much for the first time," said Perkins Eastman's Eric Fang.
"Why not have a beautiful place in New Haven to get off and enjoy yourselves while you’re out cruising wherever you’re cruising," said Russell Lowe of
Johnny Salami’s World Class Food.
They have been open for 18 years in the New Haven Food Terminal, in the Long Wharf District, which is where Lamberti Sausage has been located for over 50 years.
"So, as our heart is here, we’d love to stay here, I think that there is a better use, maybe, for this area," said Cynthia Lamberti, whose father started Lamberti Sausage in the 1940's.
Assa Abloy, formerly Sargent, has been part of New Haven since 1864 and located in the Long Wharf District since 1964.
"The city has always been really good about asking our opinion, what’s important to us and what’s going to keep us here," said Marna Wilber of Assa Abloy .
"One of the big things that I’ve been bringing up over and over again is connect that train station down to the waterfront a little bit more," said Jonathan Wharton, a resident of the nearby Hill neighborhood, who is also the Commissioner of New Haven City Planning. "Make it so that it’s more pedestrian, bicycle friendly."
A nearly $1 million state grant afforded the city the opportunity to hire the architectural firm. And, Mayor Toni N. Harp (D - New Haven) says she'd like to see an artist commissioned to turn those unsightly white gas tanks along the harbor into murals.