In a release sent to reporters Friday, District D Democratic chairman and candidate for mayor Vinny Mangiacopra introduced a series of proposals designed to jumpstart Norwalk's economy.
The eight-point plan, according to the release, is aimed at "streamlining business dealings with City Hall, creating a better environment for small businesses to grow and hire and attracting new business to relocate to Norwalk."
In a statement, Mangiacopra continued to play up the notion that the city's administration needs new faces.
"Norwalk will no longer accept the status quo, permeated by the same people, all just running to switch seats without changing the way Norwalk works,” Mangiacopra said. “I’m running because if we want change in City Hall, we need to change the people there."
Mangiacopra's plan calls for the creation of "Jobs Task Force" meetings, led by the Mayor, to "ensure all departments affecting business growth and development work in unison to cut down the red tape and get projects moving in a more timely fashion."
Mangiacopra also is calling for some technological changes. His plan is to create "Advance Norwalk," an app that helps "connect neighbors with businesses in Norwalk to compete with the chains." A social media tie-in would aid small businesses, the release said.
The youngest candidate in the race -- at 31 years old -- also said outdated zoning regulations need to be changed to make it "smarter and easier to do business" in Norwalk.
Mangiacopra and fellow Democrats Harry Rilling and Matt Miklave all blasted some of the city's zoning regulations in a town hall forum hosted by Norwalk Economic Opportunity Now in early August. At the time, they said certain zoning laws complicate matters for developers looking to come into Norwalk, while others offer loopholes and "easy outs" for developers that need to be closed.
“We need to reshape Norwalk’s business environment so that it can compete in the 21st century," Mangiacopra said. "Whether it’s outdated zoning regulations or slow-moving bureaucracy in City Hall, Norwalk needs innovative changes.
Mangiacopra said he would also conduct regular roundtable meetings with business leaders to ensure all were "pursuing the same goals."
Also trumpeted was the West Avenue Connectivity Plan, a multi-million-dollar initiative that would provide infrastructure improvements to one of Norwalk's main roads -- pedestrian-level lighting, bicycle lanes and landscaping improvements.
"Norwalk can be an attractive, inviting city to pedestrians and bikers. We can usher in a new generation of leadership to accomplish these goals. The residents of Norwalk are ready for it," Mangiacopra said.
Also outlined in his plan:
- The creation of an economic development officer within City Hall
- The institution of "facade improvement incentives" for small businesses to cosmetically improve their property
- The spearheading of a marketing and public relations strategy to attract future business to town and "stop settling for average projects with low wage jobs."
Mangiacopra, Rilling, Miklave and former town clerk Andy Garfunkel will all vie for the the Democratic party's nomination for mayor in Sept. 10's primary election.