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Nonnewaug High School's Chief News Source

NHS Chief Advocate

Nonnewaug High School's Chief News Source

NHS Chief Advocate

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Woodbury’s Market-Changing New Neighborhood

Photographed in 2021, as mostly an empty plot of land, this site shows where the future the Strongfield neighborhood will be built. Construction started in 2021, and since then, multiple houses have been built with more houses in the final stages of construction. (Courtesy of Drakeley Real Estate)

WOODBURY — Strongfield is a new neighborhood being built just off the juncture of Middle Road Turnpike and Main Street. What used to be an untouched land of weeds and grass now has a whole new neighborhood being built on it.

With already five houses built and families living in them, there are three more on the way being finished soon. This neighborhood is sure to provide more housing options in town while also raising the overall value of Woodbury property values. 

Bringing new construction to families in Woodbury is not new. Woodbury’s housing market went up 5.7% in 2023. In June 2020 the average home value in Woodbury was $289,000; as of fall 2023, it was $454,000. A $165,000 increase in just three years illustrates how much Woodbury’s housing market is booming. 

Compared to a nearby town, neighboring Watertown saw home values hovering at an average value of $239,000 in June 2020. Now, the average home value in Watertown is $337,000, going up by almost $100,000 in just three years. The $100,000 increase is considerably less than Woodbury’s home value growth over that same timeframe. 

Most neighborhoods built in Woodbury in the past 20 years have all been bigger, single-family houses with around 1.5 acres of land. Woodbury’s housing market prices, partnered with Woodbury’s calm, quiet, small-town qualities, invites wealthy families from New York City to come settle down in Woodbury. According to the latest U.S. Census, out of 545,498 people that moved out of New York City in 2022, 50,000 came to Connecticut. 

Michelle Johnson and her family are new to Woodbury, moving from Jackson Heights. For Johnson, finances weighed heavily on a decision to leave New York and enjoy the many aspects that Woodbury has to offer. 

“The cost of living was rising [in New York] and the quality of life was getting worse,” Johnson noted. 

For families like hers, Woodbury was close enough to the city that it wasn’t a life-changing move. But now, instead of cramming in an apartment, the Johnsons now have a comfortable town house and access to all of Woodbury’s amenities. 

The newest addition to Woodbury, the Strongfield neighborhood, is built less than a mile from Nonnewaug High School. Surrounding Strongfield is Woodbury’s Main Street, which is home to apartment buildings and many more houses and farm properties.

The front of the Strongfield development shows an old rustic sign displaying the name of the neighborhood. Most recently, next to it a sidewalk that has been built connecting it to Woodbury’s business district.

With the addition of developments like Strongfield, town property values are sure to be affected with the increase in new homes being built. 

“New high-income houses will bring up property values,” said culinary instructor at Nonnewaug and Woodbury resident John Dominello. 

Despite the new development, new neighborhoods in Woodbury might come to an end after Strongfield. 

“There isn’t enough land in Woodbury that could be subdivided for neighborhoods to be built,” Dominello adds. 

Is this possibly the end of new neighborhoods in Woodbury? 

Another reason that this will be one of the last neighborhoods possibly built in Woodbury, is because the scenery of Woodbury is rural and quiet, maintaining the community’s village feel. 

The town’s zoning also prohibits the building of certain new commercial buildings. For instance, in 2011, an application was filed for a Dunkin’ Donuts to be built in town, though the project failed due to zoning restrictions.

The addition of Dollar General in the heart of Woodbury created strong opinions from residents. 

“There are some great prices there,” said Kathryn Aseltine, English instructor at Nonnewaug High School, “but it could also affect the nature around the preservations near the Dollar General.”

Nature preserves and access to wildlife is a significant part of the Woodbury culture and life, adding to the overall natural value of what Woodbury residents love about their community. This balance between preserving Woodbury’s natural beauty and the desire for additional housing is a delicate balance, especially with the construction of new neighborhoods like Strongfield. 

“Woodbury doesn’t need change,” noted Josh Parsons, a Woodbury resident. “We love how Woodbury is now; we don’t need new neighborhoods in town.” 

On the other hand, some residents love the idea of new neighborhoods. There are many benefits to it, an increase in property value, an increase in budgets for the town, and more businesses coming to Woodbury. 

In the case of the Strongfield development, there’s plenty that excites residents and prospective buyers. 

The recently constructed homes are just over 2,500 square feet, most featuring four bedrooms and a contemporary design.

“Growth is something that the Woodbury housing market needs,” said Livia Kaiser, a former real estate agent. “People from New York want to move to small, wealthy towns like Woodbury. There is a huge demand for it.”

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About the Contributor
Lucas Almeida '24
Lucas Almeida '24, Reporter
Lucas Almeida is a senior at Nonnewaug from Woodbury and a first-year reporter for the Chief Advocate. If he isn't working, he is probably watching football or cleaning a car. He joined journalism to switch up from normal English classes for his last year of high school. He is also a member of DECA and FBLA.
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    Dino AlmeidaFeb 28, 2024 at 6:05 pm

    Great article Lucas!