Flatto now a Bridgeporter after sale of Fairfield home
Updated 4:32 pm, Wednesday, May 30, 2012
The man who served as Fairfield's top elected official longer than anyone else in the last three decades is now a resident of Bridgeport. And he also will be making another career change.
Kenneth Flatto, who was first selectman for nearly 12 of the last 14 years before stepping down last year, moved to the Park City this month after receiving what he termed "a really fair offer" for the Fairfield house that he and his wife owned on Orchard Hill Lane for about 20 years.
Flatto now owns a condominium at 3200 Park Ave. in Bridgeport, just over Fairfield's eastern border. Flatto said he's not sure yet whether the condominium will be a short- or long-term home.
"We only had a month between when the offer came and the move so we had a very short window to find a place," Flatto told the Fairfield Citizen on Monday. "We're happy to find a place fast and happy to sell the house fast. ... It happened sooner than we expected.
"We're very hopeful the new family enjoys the house as much as we did for 20 years."
The house most recently was appraised at $543,300, so the sales price nearly matched the appraised value in a difficult real estate market for sellers. The Flattos bought the house in April 1993 for $261,000.
Three of the Flattos' four children are living on their own and the fourth is in college, so Flatto said he and his wife decided to downsize.
"We were interested in condo-style living, and the only one we found that fit our criteria was along Park Avenue," Flatto said. "There were really no comparable units in the Fairfield area."
Flatto added that he and his wife also thought this is a good time to invest in the Park City because of "a lot of positive things happening on the development front."
"We didn't want to rent and thought it was a great time for an investment," he said.
Flatto declined to specify what he and his wife paid for the condo, though he said it was a "very good investment price."
"The condo market is pretty challenged right now so the prices are very reasonable," he said.
The Flattos won't have to walk or drive far to be back in Fairfield. The condo they own is in a complex about 50 feet from the border and across the street from Toilsome Hill Road in Fairfield, Flatto said. "We feel like it's kind of straddling both communities," he said. "I've always been a big believer in Fairfield and Bridgeport. Many people living in the (condo) complexes are former Fairfielders."
Flatto said it was difficult to leave Fairfield, but he thought it would be exciting to become familiar with the North End of Bridgeport and a new section of Fairfield after living near the geographic center of Fairfield for so long.
Flatto, who was still a District 4 member of Fairfield's Democratic Town Committee after leaving office, said he has emailed other District 4 representatives to say he would be stepping down from his post at the end of the month.
The move to Park Avenue happened so quickly that Flatto said he still needs to change his voter registration and half of the addresses on bills.
Flatto said he does not foresee entering politics in Bridgeport, and envisions his role in Fairfield as that of a booster for the town and "kind of an emeritus first selectman."
"My thought is just to help where I can," in Fairfield and Bridgeport he said. "I'm looking to just be a supporter and a booster."
He added that may be able to help the communities in "a big-picture way," without getting involved "in an overly political fashion."
Flatto also said he is transitioning away from his job at the Jewish Home for the Elderly and had a future career in mind, though he said it would take a week to 10 days before he would be able to discuss it. "It just didn't end up being the right fit," Flatto said of his job at the JHE. "I'm going to be helping, but it's pretty much finishing soon."
The Flattos attended Monday's Memorial Day parade, standing next to other town dignitaries on the reviewing stand on Town Hall Green.
The former first selectman said he was pleased to be at the annual event and to see many familiar faces.
He couldn't say if he might return to living in Fairfield, but said he has "a lot of allegiance and love for Fairfield."
"I and my family have a strong love of Fairfield and an attachment, and we're always going to be involved, whether we're living there or not," Flatto said.
Flatto was elected a member of Fairfield's Board of Selectmen in 1995, and then won election to the office of first selectman in 1997, serving in the town's top job for one term before losing it in 1999.
He then was elected first selectman again in 2001 and served until May 2011, when he resigned to accept a job in Gov. Dannel P. Malloy's administration.
He left that job in January to become vice president for community services and business development for the Jewish Home.