Officials gathered in Bridgeport’s East End Friday for the ceremonial groundbreaking of a new hydroponic (that means grown in a nutrient bath) greenhouse and community center.
As Hearst Connecticut Newspapers originally reported in late May, builders Antonio St. Lorenzo and Sean Richardson, under the name Heroes Village, want to grow 800,000 pounds of fresh produce in an 80,000 square foot facility at Central Avenue and the aptly named Trowel Street.
The site is contaminated city property that once housed Chrome Engineering, Pacelli Trucking and a former illegal dump locally dubbed “Mount Trashmore.” A $1 million state grant is helping to pay for the cleanup.
Dubbed “Boot Camp Farms” their goal is to hire as many as 40 unemployed veterans.
Plans also call for a 6000 square-foot, not-for-profit community center and a 4,000 square-foot retail store.
Community leaders have been demanding a supermarket in the East End. The neighborhood is called a “food desert” because of the challenges residents face shopping for fresh groceries.
“My administration has worked tirelessly to bring produce options to our food deserts, sustainable urban agriculture to our green city, and jobs to our residents and our veterans,” Mayor Bill Finch said in a statement. “This project meets all those goals and then some.”