'Monroe is One of the Few Places That is Doing Better'

As the national economy continues to sputter commercial spaces in Monroe are filling up and developments are underway.

Owners of the new Monroe Diner under renovation on Main Street hope to open sometime in August, a store is interested in leasing space at Stepney Crossing, and the Pepper Street Industrial Park continues to attract tenants.

Winthrop E. Baum, chairman of the Fairfield County Commercial Brokers Network (FCCBN), got to see the town's economic progress first-hand last Friday during a Monroe Economic Development Commission sponsored bus tour.

"It's great to see that progress is being made in a difficult economy," Baum said. "Monroe is one of the few places that is doing better."

First Selectman Steve Vavrek said, "It's a breath of fresh air when outside people are seeing it — the progress I said is going to be coming. Time's aren't easy, but we're trying to make it as easy as possible."


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Vavrek noted that progress takes time, using the police station project as an example. After stalling several times since 2004, the town broke ground on the building project this spring.

On Friday afternoon, the EDC hosted FCCBN's monthly meeting and luncheon in the Ehlers Room of Edith Wheeler Memorial Library. Baum, Hossler and Vavrek all addressed the audience before most of the 45 people in attendance boarded a Premier Lines bus for a tour of commercial properties in Monroe that are available for sale or lease.

Hossler said brokers provided listing sheets with a photo and information such as the asking price and square footage of properties, which went into binders that FCCBN members used to follow while along the bus tour.

Hossler led the tour and when the bus arrived at the Pepper Street Industrial Park, local developer John Kimball, boarded the bus and took the microphone to talk about progress and opportunities there.

"They were happy to be on the bus and they saw things they've never seen before," Hossler said Friday. "One Realtor said, 'This is a beautiful little town.' I many times say this is the quiet corner of Fairfield County. As I said today, 'The mouse is roaring. Things are turning around."

Since December, Hossler said, "We've filled in quite of few spaces. David Sippin said they're almost full."

Sippin, is managing partner of Sippin Management Co., which owns a number of commercial properties along the busy corridors of routes 111 and 25.

After stepping off of the bus, Stephen Hodson of Hodson Realty said, "We toured all of the vacant properties in town. It was productive."

Baum, who is a part of Web Realty Co. in Norwalk, praised the work of Hossler, who first arranged for the FCCBN to hold its meeting in Monroe last year.

"He's such a good representative of the town," Baum said. "And to think it's all volunteer."


Sponsors for the bus tour included Kimball Group, Tartaglia Commercial Properties, Atherton Associates, Sippin Property Management Co., Pond View LLC, HR Hodson Realty Inc., Vidal/Wettenstein LLC, Newtown Savings Bank and Union Savings Bank.

Alex July 03, 2012 at 04:12 PM
Glad to see properties are getting filled. I noticed the building adjacent to Cycle Fitness was recently sold (or leased?) and that has been on the market for awhile. Hopefully this is a sign of better economic times to come!
Not Born Yesterday July 03, 2012 at 04:23 PM
Economic Development in Monroe what a JOKE! More stupid little businesses that come and go and our TAXES go UP every year. No sewers no highway access equals no real commerce to offset home owner taxes. Of course Kimball and Sippin are saying it’s all good that’s because they have something to gain. We get all these little do nothing businesses that create traffic look cheap and lower our home values, they get more money and Vavrek gets to buffalo the town once again while playing First Selectman. Anyone for Pizza?
Greg Porter July 03, 2012 at 04:38 PM
Hi Alex, just wondering…is that new business you mentioned a pizza joint or a nail salon?
QWERTY July 03, 2012 at 05:25 PM
I'm not objecting to everyone's statements but unless the signs deceive me, there are acres upon acres of undeveloped land on rt. 111 only a mile or two from the rt. 25 'highway'. Trumbull has continuously found ways to develop and import large business on rt. 111. Why isn't Monroe leaching off Trumbull's economic development?
Walt July 03, 2012 at 06:05 PM
Because when you get to monroe the road narrows to one lane each way. Hell, we can't even buy cheaper gas as they're fighting the gas station stop and shop wants to put in. We need sewers. No sewers, no development.
Alex July 03, 2012 at 06:11 PM
I'm not sure yet, the sign outside of the building said FOR LEASE for at least a year and then last week or so it was covered up with a SOLD sign. No one appears to have moved in yet, but I'm hoping a sold sign would mean someone is moving in (not just changing hands of property management). It would be a good building for a restaurant since it has a unique brick design with a lot of windows, but I am not sure what the plans are for it.
Monroe Born n’ Bread July 03, 2012 at 06:15 PM
What I wants to no is will the new dinner be servin up grits?
Walt July 03, 2012 at 06:34 PM
Yass, wiff possum pot pah an crawdads too! an ah herds theys gunna do a speshul on frahdays wiff alls you kin eat critter sooprahz!
Barney July 03, 2012 at 06:47 PM
I be up for some grits. And some good old fashioned white lightning to wash it down with. I bet these education lovers are hoping this diner be all fancy and what not. Lucky we have a first selectman who understands that what matters is the good ol boys, not these education huggers and interlopers. I know this be true because he be telling me.
John Batcher July 03, 2012 at 06:52 PM
QWERTY has a QUANDARY. Answer: No Leadership i.e. Vavrek. Even if we could increase our commercial tax base Vavrek would just waste the money and up your taxes anyway. In Newtown they are in the fourth round of a budget referendum, fighting back a 0.6% tax increase. Here in Monroe we gladly lay down for a 2% increase plus millions more in borrowing because our Town Republicans love their Tax and Spend Republican First Selectman. After all they are on the same team. Monroe economic development LOL!!!!
Barney July 03, 2012 at 07:04 PM
I not be liking this criticisms of my first selectman. Mr. Vavrek be telling me education does not matter and he followed through. He be telling me we need to close a couple schools down and he be working on it. Mr. Vavrek be helping the P&Z out by fighting away businesses. Sure those boys on the P&Z be fighting but they be helping out the normal folks by chasing away families and business. This here community has too many education huggers and interlopers and mr. Vavrek and the P&Z are working on the side of the normal folk.
Monroe Born n’ Bread July 03, 2012 at 07:28 PM
The P&Z fellers gonna chase away business so we can keep on with are farmin. But I hopes they leave that ther diner alone cause all this ther talk about food gots me a mite hungry. Maybe Mr. Vavrek will buy everyone a round of moonshine if wer lucky.
Tiare Fahey July 03, 2012 at 08:44 PM
Is there no way to get state arbitration involved to get sewers through to Monroe? It seems to me, in my ten years here in Monroe, that Trumbull is stonewalling and will continue to do so as it is in their best economic interests. If we could at least get sewers into the commercial corridor (Route 25/Route 111 and Pepper Street), we could develop the town. Unless an outside arbitrator steps in, I don't see Trumbull budging on the issue.
Fred Mariani July 03, 2012 at 08:51 PM
Monroe's idea of economic development is a new pizza joint.This town and state are encouraging people and businesses to leave. I am moving mine to North Carolina.My street hasn't been paved in 27 years and it has holes and cracks with grass growing out of the cracks.do a tour of my street.
Fred Mariani July 03, 2012 at 08:58 PM
when prospective home buyers and business owners consider a town,they do their homework.They notice the condition of the roads,not just the main roads,they see how long it takes for streets to get plowed and 2pm doesn't cut it.I can guaranty that in 10 years it will be more of the same.
Tiare Fahey July 03, 2012 at 09:40 PM
This goes back to my point that if we were able to bring sewers into Monroe, the economic development possibilities would be able to compete with the neighboring towns of Trumbull and Stratford in its diversity. The key to meeting the needs of infrastructure and lower property taxes is bringing sewers into the commercial corridor and that will bring businesses!
Tiare Fahey July 03, 2012 at 10:02 PM
To the individuals slamming the farming community here in Monroe--you haven't got a clue! Running a farm is a difficult business--you've got to have common sense (and use it), tenacity, practical skills to maintain your equipment and facilities, practical knowledge of animal husbandry and agriculture to feed and care for your animals and supply produce to the local food industry, and an ability to prepare for future expenses and be able to meet them. Because he is a farmer does NOT mean the man is ignorant, he is just focused on getting the job done right so he can provide for himself and his family.
Fred Mariani July 03, 2012 at 10:07 PM
folks are missing the big picture.Ct is a tax happy state.Once the housing crises ends,peopl will be exiting the state like the Israelites out of Egypt.If you want to see what Ct will be like in 10 years,look to california.The town can't even maintain basic services,let alone invest in economic development.
Fred Mariani July 03, 2012 at 11:04 PM
The last time I ckecked,Monroe's economic development budget was $6000,does that sound like commitment or lip service.I challenge anyone to give me 5 GOOD reasons a company would want to come to Monroe.
Lancaster Farmer July 03, 2012 at 11:55 PM
I’m from Pennsylvania and I know what a REAL farm is. I’ve lived and work on more than one. Try being responsible for milking 120 cows twice a day every day then tell me about farming. How many animals do you have, four maybe, and two are probably a cat and a dog, add to that a couple of tomato plants and then you’re a Monroe Farmer. There are no REAL farms in Monroe, just some farmer wannabees. Keep dreaming. If some of the characters in this little suburban bedroom town ever had to make it on a real farm they wouldn’t know where to start. Message to Monroe farmers (lol) keep cultivating your fantasy.
Lancaster Farmer July 04, 2012 at 01:05 AM
Sewers and economic development: The Holy Grail of Monroe Politics. Even if we had sewers it wouldn’t save this place. Unless we build our own waste disposal plant and that would cost a minor fortune, we would have to go through the Trumbull sewers to get to the Bridgeport plant. That is an expensive proposition because both towns charge. Does anyone know the estimated cost of floating a turd down 15 miles of pipe through two municipalities before it is deposited in Long Island Sound? If you moved to Monroe hoping for Sewers and lower taxes through economic development then you’re schnitzel out of luck.
Marion Frost July 04, 2012 at 01:48 PM
KUDOS to Mr. Hossler and the members of the EDC - UNPAID VOLUNTEERS - who generously donate their time, talents and energy to the betterment of our town and community. Thank you!
Get a Clue Monroe July 04, 2012 at 04:33 PM
“For the betterment of our town and community” Really? Tell me how it has gotten better? I’ve been living here for 20 years and each year we are promised business tax revenue and we never get it. Business makes up for about 10% of what we take in and even if we doubled that our taxes would still be high. Economic development believers need to get real; it’s not going to make Monroe better and it has Rt. 25 and Rt.111 looking like one big giant strip mall. Did you read who paid to put this show on “Sponsored by Kimball Group, Tartaglia Commercial Properties, Atherton Associates, Sippin Property Management Co., Pond View LLC….” This is just a group of very town connected guys that are using naive Monroeites to sell their own commercial space. Hossler and his EDC friends haven’t got a clue. Hossler was one of the guys behind the AMEC garbage deal. Was that as you say for the “betterment of our community”?
Tiare Fahey July 04, 2012 at 05:55 PM
To the Lancaster Farmer - You should be encouraging the Monroe farmers who are trying to retain the rural nature of our town and grow their farms, not naysaying them because they don't have 120 cows. In a county that values property rather than rural communities and maintaining self-sufficiency, I'd think you'd be more understanding.
TBL of CT July 07, 2012 at 12:39 AM
It appears Monroe's latest desire for economic improvement is to open Asain Spa's!!! Seriously in our small town... really? I dont know what occurs in these establishments but there were already 4-5 along route 25. Then I go to get a daily coffee at the DD on Main St. where Ragu's Mini Mart was and another Asian SPA is coming in! Will that affect health codes next to DD? What is the glory of Monroe to these owners and better yet, what is happening on those sheets? As a concerned citizen who is all for the prosperity in this town, does it not seem odd that these businesses are opening? They are no nail salons. Heck if we are going this route, let's bring back the moonshine biz!!!
Barney July 07, 2012 at 03:07 AM
Moonshine - heck yea! Only interlopers needs fancy spa's. You think there be too many spa's contact the planning and zoning fella's. They be thinking no business in town. They be stopping all business from putting up fancy glowing signs. Those fancy neon signs aint be normal. The good fellas on the planing and zones be telling me families and business not be welcome. I be hearing they even be telling McDonalds to look colonial. I have a contact on planning and zoning and he be telling me to vote no on every budget. Heck ya. Support mr. Vavrek. He understands that business not be welcome in town. He be telling me education and interlopers not be welcome here. I be agreeing. Support mr. vavrek. Say no to interlopers.
Oldblooeyz August 14, 2012 at 05:05 AM
Just about any business that opens here is a good business. During my time here I've sen a lot of development . Unfortunately with the depression we're in a lot of businesses had to close. I've never thought our town handled development well. I do recall that there was a plan to widen 111 though , what happened to that?


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