BRIDGEPORT — For the third quarter of 2012 the People’s United Community Foundation has awarded nearly half a million dollars in grants to nonprofit organizations in Connecticut, New York, Massachusetts and the remainder of New England. Eighty-four organizations received $467,000 in funding in support of programs that ranged from basic needs services and affordable housing projects to education and job training programs. The funding was distributed within the foundation’s three areas of focus: 49 percent allocated to youth development, 36 percent to community development, and 15 percent to affordable housing initiatives.
Of that sum, $272,500 was awarded to Connecticut non-profits. The largest single grants included $25,000 each to the Barnum Museum Foundation in People’s United’s hometown of Bridgeport and the Kennedy Center in Trumbull, as well as $20,000 to New Haven-based Teach for America/Connecticut.
NEW HAVEN — Just in time for the new school year, New Haven will get its very own Shake Shack. The chain purveyor or burgers, fries, hot dogs and of course milkshakes will open for business at 986 Chapel Street, hard by the Yale campus. The company began as a food cart in Manhattan’s Madison Square Park eight years ago and has since grown to 15 restaurants.
Shake Shack CEO Randy Garutti was expected in town for a September 12 preview party featuring the Yale a cappella group Something Extra (which of course is not what you may have on your burger at nearby legend Louis Lunch).
Downtown campus opens; predictable parking snafus ensue
NEW HAVEN — Back-to-school season hit New Haven with a little extra force this year, as the brand new Gateway Community College campus opened in the heart of downtown on August 29.
Nearly 8,000 students were welcomed for the first day of classes at the Church Street campus September 4, a day nearly three years in the making for the $198 million, 367,000-square-foot facility. An estimated 11,000 students will take classes there this academic year in the school’s more than 90 degree and certification programs.
The two new buildings, which sit on two city blocks and are connected by a three-story bridge over George Street, house 90 classrooms and laboratories, a three-story library and learning commons, a cafeteria, culinary center, bookstore, art gallery, community center and small-business center.
Gateway’s new digs replace two former campuses at Long Wharf and in North Haven. The new, modern facility increases Gateway’s enrollment capacity by 50 percent. However, some courses requiring additional space, such as those for the school’s automotive program, will remain at the North Haven campus.
The campus has its own dedicated 600-space parking garage, with an entrance on Crown Street. Traffic the morning of September 4 was heavy between Route 34 and Crown Street, with multiple officers directing the morning rush. The Temple Street garage — which validates parking for students in 700 leased spaces — was full by 8:30 a.m., and commuters were directed into the Gateway garage, which is typically open only to students with a valid student ID.
The influx of thousands more people downtown has been met mostly with enthusiasm by local businesses, which welcome the additional foot traffic. Many were on hand during the August 29 grand opening event to welcome and offer information to newcomers. CTTransit also has been a regular fixture in the school’s main lobby promoting public transportation and offering month-long free bus passes for students with valid IDs. Officials hope students at the commuter school will rely more on using the buses to ease automobile traffic on downtown streets.
Construction of the campus was managed by Dimeo Construction, which has offices in New Haven, administered by Glastonbury-based Gilbane Building Co., and contracted by the state’s Department of Construction Services. The project was the largest public project in the state, as well as the largest on any college campus.
The building was designed with green standards in mind, and is expected to achieve final LEED certification this fall from the U.S. Green Building Council.