Poll: Change Metro Center RR station name to Black Rock
A majority of online voters punched the ticket in favor of incorporating "Black Rock" into the name of Fairfield's third train station, according to results released Monday by the first selectman's office.
The ultimate decision for the name of the station -- scheduled to open by fall of this year -- is up to the state Department of Transportation.
Now called Fairfield Metro Center, the station being built off lower Black Rock Turnpike carries the name of the sprawling commercial complex that it was proposed to be part of. That private development, however, has yet to get under way because of financial problems.
More than 1,200 people participated in the three-week survey sponsored by First Selectman Kenneth Flatto's office.
Black Rock, or some variation, was the favorite of about 75 percent of the votes.
Keeping the "Metro Center" tag, favored by developer Kurt Wittek, whose Blackrock Realty hopes to build the commercial development on its portion of the property, garnered only 15 votes.
According to the results released Monday afternoon by Flatto's office, 594 votes favored "Black Rock" station, while the next highest amount, 161, support the name "Fairfield Black Rock" station. Of those who cast votes, 774 live in Fairfield, 298 are Bridgeport residents, another 57 come from Easton, Trumbull, Stratford or Wesport, and 92 voters fell in the "other" category.
Occasional train riders made up the bulk of voters -- 777 -- while 403 daily commuters cast a vote in the survey, and 41 voters said they do not use Metro-North Railroad.
And while all the voters may not have agreed on a single name, an overwhelming majority -- 1,002 -- said they think the depot's name should be changed. Only 185 felt it should remain the Metro Center.
Flatto said the station was first known as "Commerce Drive" station in documents describing the project in the early planning stages. That changed in 2003 to Fairfield Metro Station at the developer's recommendation.
The state agreed to allow the town to conduct a survey on naming the train station, and DOT officials will review the results and make a decision by February in order to prepare signs and train schedules prior to the mid-fall opening.
"This has been an excellent exercise in seeking public comment and in involving the public in plans for Fairfield's new train station," Flatto said. "Should the state agree to the name "Black Rock/Fairfield" station, or some variation, I believe this would represent the entire area and our community well, and frankly, this would become a wonderful acknowledgement of the commonality of interests and the importance of sharing economic development goals to greatly benefit both the community of Fairfield and our neighbors in Bridgeport."
The station, which is being built on part of a former foundry, abuts the town's border with Bridgeport's Black Rock neighborhood along Ash Creek.
Flatto said the response to the survey was "heartening," and shows a "clear-cut consensus" in favor of the Black Rock name.
Other choices and their vote tallies were: Ash Creek, 118; Black Rock Turnpike, 14; Commerce Drive, 5; Grasmere, 27; Metro Center, 4; Fairfield Ash Creek, 64; Fairfield Commerce Drive, 10; Fairfield Grasmere, 15; Fairfield Metro, 126; no opinion, 15, and other, 68.