Dixwell calls for park near police station

Parks often symbolize entire communities, and Dixwell demonstrated the strength of its community last night in rallying for a new park development.

The New Haven Board of Aldermen’s Community Development Committee met Thursday to review and approve city funding for a new park development. The new park will expand the existing recreational area in the Dixwell neighborhood while reallocating parcels of land along Canal and Ashmun streets, near the Yale Police Station.

Michael Pinto and David Moeser, representing the New Haven Parks Department, outlined the details of the park project before the committee of five aldermen.

“The park will provide much-needed and much-desired recreational areas, including jungle gyms and new sports facilities,” Pinto said.

These new sports facilities include two new tennis courts and a baseball diamond. In addition, a sitting area for community performances will be added.

Fifteen Dixwell residents came out in support of the park at the meeting. Previously, 1,000 people signed a petition in support of the project, and community members have held over 40 public meetings to discuss details of the proposal.

Among other things, community members commented on the need for a clean place for kids to play, given that at the present a wooded area next to the park contains needles and trash that present hazards for children, residents said. Another concern voiced by teenager Wanda Benson was that the present park was not big enough to accommodate children of all ages.

Anita Williams, a Dixwell resident and mother, urged the need for the park at Thursday’s meeting.

“The children need a place to play, have fun and be children,” Williams said. “[The park] will just be awesome.”

Ward 15 Alderman Joseph Rodriguez raised concerns about the safety and maintenance of the park in light of gang and other illegal activity, but Pinto and Moeser were quick to point out what they said was a major deterrent in the area.

“The park is right next to the Yale Police Station, which will be a significant deterrent to crime,” Pinto said. “Because we have so much support from the neighborhood, we do not see people tolerating destructive activity.”

Associate Vice President of New Haven and State Affairs Michael Morand ’87 DIV ’93, representing Yale and its $250,000 investment in the new park development, also spoke out in support of the plan.

“The park will allow the Dixwell-Yale Learning Center to do even more outdoor activities,” Morand said. “There will also be two 24-hour facilities occupied by Yale Security that can monitor the park as well.”

Morand then presented an honorary check to Dixwell community members present at the meeting, since Yale’s donation had already been deposited with the city.

“[Yale is] happy to be a part of this effort [by] paying $250,000 to the city of New Haven to help the project be completed,” Morand said.

With the completion of the public forum, the aldermen passed the motion to approve funding for the expansion of the park, which will begin in six to eight weeks and be ready for the fall. At the conclusion of the meeting, Ward 7 Alderman Frances “Bitsie” Clark thanked Dixwell residents for coming out to support the park project.

“This is one of the most gratifying community development meetings I have even been a part of,” she said. “Your speeches [about what the park would mean to you] brought me to tears.”

The next Board of Aldermen meeting is scheduled for May 5.


  • sla23

    What two 24 hour facilities monitored by Yale security? A park is nice, but shouldn't the Yale Police and Security people be monitoring Yale and not public land? Thats what they get paid for.

  • Ms. Lisa J. Hopkins/Dixwell Resident

    The "new" medical center and the Dixwell-Yale Community Learning Center are the two facilities that are mentioned in the article…these facilities are neighboring the Scantlebury Park and enable everyone including…Yalies; an opportunity to enjoy the "Scantlebury Park"…what's wrong with YALE UNIVERSITY providing assistance in the delivery of such a service? I think sla23 is representative of the negative enigma that continues to seperate such a great learning campus and the community-at-large…I thank Yale University for understanding the concept of being a good neighbor, actively engaging the resources necessary to provide funding and oversight for this tedious process and sitting at the table with the Dixwell Management Team, Wexler-Grant Community School, Monterey Place/Elm Haven Resident Council, Ward 22 residents, HANH and the City of New Haven…this effort is the perfect example of how progressive partnerships can impact our community!

  • sla23

    I realy don't think my questions are representative of any "negative enigma". I asked about the identity of two new facilities monitored by Yale Security. From asking some Yale security personnel they will apparently be the Health Center and a new parking garage. My second question was to the park being public land. Yale police and security are paid to protect Yale property. If the park is to be public property, Yale Security would have no jurisdiction there whatsoever. The Yale Police have city wide jurisdiction, but I doubt they would be willing to have an officer sit at the park. Perhaps a better solution would be for Yale to donate funds to the city equal to what the cost of Yale protection would be. Hire some park ranger type personnel to oversee the park and provide educational programs. Yale keeps it officers, the park gets security, and more jobs are created for the community with the added benefit of educational activities. A win-win for everyone.

  • GHT

    One thousand sign a petition, forty meetings and fifteen people show up. Since this will be a park students can use, maybe more of us should show up at the meetings.

  • Ms. Lisa J. Hopkins/Dixwell Resident

    SLA23 get over yourself…YALE UNIVERSITY doesn't blindly give money away or partner with communities to merely turn their backs afterwards! I am quite sure that the stakeholders will develop and implement a long-term plan to address safety issues…
    BY GHT…clearly you don't know the history of this entire process…allow me to explain…this endeavor took over 8 years to happen and throughout this undertaking any and all stakeholders were active and made a commitment to see this park through…the final public hearing regarding Scantlebury Park was the last opportunity for supporters to let their voices be heard…anyone taking time out their schedule to attend such an event should be commended…The signatures were submitted several years ago and the individuals and/or community organizations that re-submitted them did this to let those on the community development committee know that the signatures existed prior to the hearing and should be factored into the their final decision to support/pass this item onto the BOA for a vote…the funds were already airmaked for the sole purpose of re-developing SCANTLEBURY PARK: the Public Hearing was a rite of passage…face it decisions regarding the direction of government: local, state or federal are made with less than a favorable turnout…unfortunately, many students…GHT many students don't express interest in issues unless they are directly affected by them…maybe your response will shed some light on the need for students to get involved in issues that impact community…the perception regarding student involvement has usually been directly connected to local elections…I must say that although…public hearings are usually NOT heavily publicized as they should be by the city…It was encouraging to see people coming together with a shared interest in a park that will improve the quality of life for so many residents. I would love to see more students get involved in the things that increase recreational and social opportunities in our community! Maybe, this article will prompt a productive dialogue about increased involvement in community issues by more students!

  • sla23

    Lisa- No where did I mention "Yale walking away" or blindly giving money away. My point is security at the park strictly from a legal jurisdictional viewpoint. Yale doesn't have it, so Yale saying thier security would "monitor" the park is nonsense, unless the City wishes to cede the property to Yale. A security guard with no authority IS a waste of resources. As I suggested, a better solution can be found with Yale and the community working together that ismuch more effective to provide a safe and enjoyable experience at the park.

  • Ms. Lisa J. Hopkins/Dixwell Resident

    sla23-I said Yale University doesn't give money blindly or partner with communities to merely turn their backs on them…this means that they are committed…your point is well taken and this is a concern that should be addressed collectively…their are community resources in place already to provide educational and recreational oversight…The Dixwell/Yale Community Learning Center and Parks & Rec will take care of the park…We are both on the same page and our concerns are valid…I don't know about a park ranger but having a safe park in essential!

  • myu

    Bangkok Gardens is the best Thai place for a more formal, dressy meal. The food is good and comparable to the other Thai restaurants around (since there’s a ton around that York & Chapel block), but it’s definitely the best environment. There’s also a front window area that’s good for big groups!

  • jyang

    Probably the best Thai food in New Haven. Their drunken noodles feature extra flavorful pieces of chicken, cut into small pieces so that they absorb all of the sauce. Their lunch special is a great value deal.

  • MLei

    I went here for dinner on a Saturday night. This is a great Thai restaurant that has a nice atmosphere. The appetizers, especially the dumplings, are very good.

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