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Norwalkers Appreciate New Community Feeling

Iris Nelson has lived on Summer Street since the late '70s, but things are different now. "I like the new neighbors," she said. "Gee, I don't have all those teenagers coming around in the summer. They don't have a place to hang out."

Nelson was sitting between two new apartment buildings, across the street from her home, enjoying a dinner compliments of the developer that has changed the neighborhood, Summerview Square . A long table was set up between sets of garages so residents, neighbors and guests could celebrate the development that was named Community of the Year by the Home Builders Association of Connecticut late last year. The party was also a celebration of the completion of the latest set of rental units.

Members of the Norwalk Police Department Special Services unit attended the dinner – because they had trained in the old, derelict buildings that had been there before. Officer Mark Suda had mixed feelings. "I'm sorry to see it go," he said, of the training site. "But this is beautiful. I think they should buy the whole block."

State Sen. Bob Duff, D-Norwalk, and other local politicians were in attendance as well and spoke about the first-of-its-kind for Norwalk community.

"New neighborhoods cropping up with an old neighborhood like this is a wonderful thing," said state Rep. Gail Lavielle, R-Norwalk and Wilton.

"It's tremendous and a real inspiration," said state Rep. Terrie Wood, R-Norwalk and Darien. "Great communities are about great housing choices, and this is one of the choicest neighborhoods in Norwalk."

The new neighborhood off Main Street will feature a 63-unit combination apartment and rental townhome community. Currently, 13 units in the first phase are occupied, and the second phase will offer eight units for lease.

Jackie Bertolini and Gary Chase moved in last October. "I'm very happy here," said Bertolini. "I feel very safe here. ... There's a great sense of community. I like having neighbors. I came here from a high-rise apartment building (in New Jersey), and there really wasn't a sense of community."

Nelson, the longtime resident across the street, said she comes to visit often. "I love the models," she said. "They're beautiful."

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