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Norwalk invests additional $1.25 million into MLK Corridor

Harry Rilling, mayor of Norwalk, at the South Norwalk library to announce an additional $1.25 million to go toward MLK Corridor improvements, specifically the low-interest loan program for home exterior repairs and the facade improvement program in Norwalk, Connecticut March 22, 2023.
Abigail Brone
Connecticut Public
Norwalk Mayor Harry Rilling announces an additional $1.25 million to go toward MLK Corridor improvements, specifically the low-interest loan program for home exterior repairs and the facade improvement program in Norwalk, Conn., March 22, 2023.

With an additional $1.25 million in state and local funding, announced Wednesday, the city of Norwalk will be able to continue two programs aimed at improving the Martin Luther King Jr. Corridor in South Norwalk.

The facade improvement and low-interest loan programs were announced last June. The $1.25 million will be divided between the two programs, with $750,000 dedicated to facade improvements and the remaining $500,000 funding the low-interest loans, according to city Communications Director Michelle Woods Matthews.

The city began accepting applications for both programs Wednesday, Woods Matthews said.

In the last five years, the city and the Norwalk Redevelopment Agency refurbished the exterior of 30 homes through the facade improvement program, totaling $1.4 million, said Brian Bidolli, executive director of the Redevelopment Agency.

Using the newly allocated $750,000, the city will be able to fix up an additional 30 homes, Bidolli said. The facade improvements come at no cost to the homeowners; city and Redevelopment Agency employees help the homeowners fine-tune the work to be done and identify qualified contractors.

“What this is really trying to do is reinvest in the community,” Bidolli said. “We spend a lot of time trying to develop property, but we want to make sure we are preserving the existing communities we are here to serve.”

For the facade improvement program, each housing unit can receive a $25,000 grant, with a $100,000 maximum per property, according to city documents.

For owner- and renter-occupied properties, the joint occupants’ wages must not exceed the income limits for eligibility. The eligibility parameters range from an income of about $101,000 for a family of one to $191,000 for a family of eight, according to the documents.

Eligible homes lie within the MLK Corridor boundaries, which run along MLK Jr. Drive, according to the documents. Renters and homeowners of properties within the designated area can apply for either the loan or facade program.

Abigail is Connecticut Public's housing reporter, covering statewide housing developments and issues, with an emphasis on Fairfield County communities. She received her master's from Columbia University in 2020 and graduated from the University of Connecticut in 2019. Abigail previously covered statewide transportation and the city of Norwalk for Hearst Connecticut Media. She loves all things Disney and cats.

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