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Ganim Touts Savings, Transparency, Steelpointe During State Of The City

Mayor Joseph P. Ganim chats with business leaders at a luncheon of the Bridgeport Regional Business Council. Photo Credit: Meredith Guinness
An artist's rendering of what the housing at Steelpointe might look like when completed. Photo Credit: Meredith Guinness
Bridgeport Mayor Joseph P. Ganim presents his State of the City on Thursday, March 3. Photo Credit: Meredith Guinness
The corner of Main and Golden Hill streets, where Ganim said he wants to clean up rubble and blight.
The corner of Main and Golden Hill streets, where Ganim said he wants to clean up rubble and blight. Video Credit: Meredith Guinness
Piles of rubble sit in front of a vacant building on a closed street near the corner of Main and Golden Hill streets in Bridgeport. Photo Credit: Meredith Guinness

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. — Bridgeport Mayor Joseph P. Ganim outlined his accomplishments over his first 100 days in office Thursday, noting the city has received both the biggest federal grant and the largest private investment in its history since he was sworn in Dec. 3.

He also announced the next phase of the much-anticipated Steelpointe project will include 250 waterfront housing units to begin construction this year.

“I think, in many ways, we’ve just begun and we have so much more to do over the next four years,” he told about 350 people gathered for a Bridgeport Regional Business Council luncheon.

After uncovering a $20 million budget deficit days into his term as mayor, Ganim said his team has worked to freeze spending, reduce police and fire overtime and restructure departments without compromising services.

The city is refinancing to will save about $3.5 million this fiscal year and should save $10 million in debt services over the next five years, he said.

“That will put us in a better position to balance budgets going forward,” he said.

The mayor echoed his earlier calls for transparency, including his plan for an Office of Governmental Accountability and the upcoming creation of “Open Bridgeport,” an online portal that will allow residents to see how their money is spent, line item by line item.

Ganim said he plans to invest in infrastructure, including $4.5 million for reconstruction on Water Street, $3 million in sidewalk repairs, state-of-the-art downtown parking meters, school expenditures, beautification and the planned Barnum Avenue train station.

He is fostering partnerships with institutions of higher education, including the University of Bridgeport. Ganim mentioned the university’s connections to the $50 million federal grant to make improvements in the city’s South End, the largest federal grant the city has ever received.

The city will also receive an estimated $10 million in annual tax revenue from PSEG, which recently announced it will spend $550 million to build a natural gas-fired power station in the South End.

Gamin said the next phase of the Steelpointe development will include a movie theater and a hotel, in addition to the Bass Pro Shops, Starbucks and Chipotle that are already open.

“These new coastline improvements will be part of the backbone of one of the most significant public promenades in the region,” he said.

But there’s work to be done. Pointing out new Police Chief AJ Perez, who was sworn in Wednesday, Ganim said he wants to add 71 more new officers to the 29 he has sworn in in his first three months and increase safety in the city’s public housing.

He also wants to meet with downtown developers to clean up blighted properties along Main Street downtown, including possible removal of some of the artwork on several vacant buildings.

“I’m not satisfied,” he said. “We’ve got to get moving.”

He called on the business leaders gathered to support Bridgeport’s residents and workers.

“Despite extraordinary challenges,” he said, “my administration is looking towards a brighter future for the city that we all love.”

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