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Feds Fund Planning And Development For Barnum Station

Cassandra Basler

Bridgeport’s old Remington Arms factory pumped out bullets during World War II. A $10 million federal grant awarded this month may bring a new train station to the site where it stood.

Metro-North Railroad’s New Haven Line passes by abandoned factories and vacant lots on the Bridgeport’s East Side. Here, Federal money will help design a second train station for the city- the Barnum Station.

U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D- Conn.) visited the site on Monday.

“33 percent of people who live in this neighborhood don’t have a car, and the average income in this neighborhood is $10,000 dollars less than Bridgeport as a whole, so the opportunity is the highest for development here, but the need is also the highest,” he said.

Murphy said the Barnum Station could be a catalyst for residential, commercial and industrial development in the neighborhood.

Jim Cameron said that’s a lot to bet on. He’s from the Commuter Action Group that advocates for Metro-North riders.

“Just dropping a station in the middle of what is really a bombed-out, desolate part of Bridgeport does not necessarily mean there will be further economic development,” he said.

Cameron said money would be better spent on making tracks safer at stations that already exist, and that, so far, no businesses have announced plans to develop the area if the Barnum Station is built.

Efrain Silva has owned a Puerto Rican restaurant for about 30 years, just a few blocks away from the proposed Barnum Station. He said building a train station in his neighborhood would be great, but he really hopes developers will buy in and build new housing.

“If you build houses it means that the city is gonna be getting more taxes from people, which will help the city, you know, to grow,” he said. “That would be wonderful, and that’s what we need- more people coming to the city of Bridgeport.”

Silva and other East Side residents will have to wait for the state to finish the design and final cost estimates, and secure funding for the Barnum Station.

Cassandra Basler, a former senior editor at WSHU, came to the station by way of Columbia Journalism School in New York City. When she's not reporting on wealth and poverty, she's writing about food and family.