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Eversley’s Sayonara, But Not Too Far

Bill Finch had the job before he became mayor of Bridgeport and now Donald Eversley will attempt to breathe life into the Bridgeport Economic Development Corporation, the former quasi-public agency. Finch has decided Eversley wasn’t the best fit as development director for four years. Maybe he’ll do better working under the authority of the Bridgeport Regional Business Council. Finch is expected to announce Eversley’s replacement within the next day or so. News release from the mayor:

Mayor Bill Finch today announced that Donald Eversley, who has helmed the City’s Office of Planning and Economic Development (OPED) since July 2008, will help reinvigorate BEDCO – the Bridgeport Economic Development Corporation.

“One of my long-standing goals since taking office was to re-form and reinvigorate BEDCO to provide greater support and incentive for private sector development in Bridgeport,” said Mayor Finch. “Don’s wide-ranging knowledge of economic development, city, state and federal development programs, and his extensive contacts in the public and private sector make him the right person to breathe new life into this public/private venture.”

BEDCO counts among its successes the Read’s ArtSpace project and the renovation of the Arcade Mall and Hotel as a mixed-use commercial/residential project in downtown Bridgeport.

Paul Timpanelli, CEO of the Bridgeport Regional Business Council said, “It is our hope that this will add to our toolbox of public/private resources in pursuit of continued economic development for Bridgeport”.

During his tenure at OPED, Eversley successfully led the City’s support of a number of prominent projects including, the revitalization of Bijou Square, the Mechanics & Farmers building, 333 State Street and the five-block area at the north end of Main Street, which was recently awarded to developers. On Steel Point, he is credited with dividing the project into phases with ownership remaining with the City until the developer is ready to proceed with each parcel. Implementing the City’s new Master Plan and Zoning Code, the Bridgeport Arts Fest, Downtown Thursdays and a storefront improvement program were other key initiatives.

In this new position, Eversley will initially be focusing on the Eco-Industrial Park in the City’s South End, one of Mayor Finch’s top sustainability and economic development goals. He also will be working with the Bridgeport Port Authority to re-position the Bridgeport Shipyard, and a new minority contractor bond assistance program, which was recently authorized and funded through the state Legislature. Plans for the Eco-Industrial Park include a solar array to be placed on the Seaside Park landfill in conjunction with United Illuminating, and an anaerobic digester facility, among other projects.

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