Residents, Yalies call for Q House

The Board of Aldermen held a public meeting Wednesday evening to discuss reopening and renovating the Q House, Dixwell’s now-shuttered community center.

At a joint committee meeting of the Youth Services Committee and the Human Services Committee, aldermen heard community testimony and approved a resolution asking the state for funding to reopen Dixwell’s defunct Q House. Until 2003, the Q House supervised children after school before their parents came home from work, which proponents argued kept them away from negative influences of the street.

The joint committee, chaired by Ward 1 Alderman Sarah Eidelson ’12 and Ward 26 Alderman Sergio Rodriguez, invited testimony from the residents of New Haven’s Dixwell community and their neighbors, Yale students, to offer their perspectives on and experiences with the Q House. Ultimately, the Board hoped that the meeting would result in both securing funding from the state and encouraging the community to raise money to invest in its own future, said Ward 22 Alderman Jeanette Morrison, who spearheaded the effort to fund the Q House again.

Throughout the meeting, those who testified referenced the Wednesday drive-by shooting of a 16-month-old infant in Dixwell, which residents said heightened the “dire need” of tackling a growing violent crime problem in an area so near to Yale’s campus. The chamber was filled with mostly New Haven residents waving makeshift signs — although a half dozen Yale students also attended the meeting — and a majority of these attendees ended up speaking.

“We heard moving testimony from a whole range of people: alumni kids, alumni volunteers, clergy, teenagers and young kids,” said Josef Goodman ’14, the Democratic Town Council co-chair of Ward 22. “Each spoke to the necessity of the institution and the vacuum its closure has left.”

A majority of the speakers said they were long-time Dixwell residents and had benefitted from the former community center in a way their children have not. Every single attendee who testified said that giving local children a safe place to interact with one another and learn from adults was a crucial first step in decreasing crime in Dixwell, as they said the Q House had succeeded in doing since its opening in 1929.

Prominent community members — like Hillhouse High School principal Kermit Carolina, former mayoral candidate Clifton Graves Jr. and Dixwell Avenue Congregational Church pastor Frederick Streets — spoke about their own experiences growing up with the Q House and the youth violence they have seen increase in their communities since it shut its doors.

Toward the end of the meeting, a group of elementary school students filed into seats facing committee members and delivered original testimonials toward the end of the meeting. One nine-year-old girl told the committee that she would like a place for youth to go after school so they could socialize and exercise rather than “just watch television,” and so kids would stop “selling things they shouldn’t be selling.”

Then, an elderly woman who could not walk to the podium due to a physical disability said from her seat that the Q House is to Dixwell “what the Taj Mahal is to India,” adding that the Q House could be a place for profound intergenerational exchange. Both these testimonials received a standing ovation from attendees.

Some Yale students in attendance said they have been involved in different ways to revive the Q House. Goodman, along with other Yale students living in Silliman, Ezra Stiles, Morse and Timothy Dwight colleges, is a resident of Ward 22 and has been working with Morrison on issues facing youth and unemployment in Dixwell since her term began.

New Haven Action President Drew Morrison ’14 and Jacob Anbinder ’14 also testified at the meeting, presenting to the committee a map they developed that showed the high concentration of violent crime in certain areas in Dixwell since the closing of the Q House.

The city has already received $40,000 in state funding, Morrison said, which will be used to conduct a feasibility study of what will be a complex renovation. It is likely that the city will tear down the deteriorating building and rebuild it from scratch with brand new facilities, she added.

New Haven saw 34 homicides in 2011, the highest rate the city has experienced in two decades.

Comments

  • Sara

    How many dozens of brand new school buildings are there in New Haven? If those can’t be used on nights and weekends as community centers and gyms, what makes us think that another new building can?

    How about spending on employment opportunities for actual kids, not on more bricks and mortar that costs millions to maintain each year.

  • The Anti-Yale

    yale could fund the whole thing with the blink of a Woodbridge Hall eyelash.

    It would do a lot more for community relations than the entire Yale outreach effort, including the elitist high school scholarship fund.

    Go where the PROBLEM is, not where the SOLUTION ought to be.

  • Dowager

    The problem cannot be solved with more money, more buildings, or more effort. The problem needs to be solved from within. The problem is a lack of personal responsibility and we have a government and a public mindset that not only refuses to DEMAND personal responsibility, but offers any number of government programs which perpetuate the entitlement/government problem solving mentality. The culture has to change. Enough of the social experimentation. It is NOT working.

    • lakia

      Could not agree more.I used to give the liberal mindset the benefit of the doubt, believing them to live in a theoretically optimistic world. Now I am beginning to wonder whether it is sheer stupidity or a purposeful plan to keep the poor dependent, thus affording the government more control. Either way, it does not paint a very flattering portrait of liberals and their failed social experiments.

      • wellobviously

        Your blatant classism is pretty unflattering too.

        • lakia

          What is your point? If we don’t don’t talk about the “classes”, they cease to exist?

  • The Anti-Yale

    How can there be personal responsibility when your mom is a crack-fiend and hooker and dad is out of the picture having fathered children with several women and walked away from them all?

    Dowager sounds like a white middle aged Republican sipping afternoon tea at Whitney Center and a (one only) cocktail at six at the New Haven Country Club waiting for the monthly check from her 401K and another from her “broker” to refill her coffers.

    • towngown83

      Personal responsibility would have halted the “baby daddy” syndrome that makes breeding your own baseball team a mark of pride in the neighborhood. You sound like an elderly white liberal chewing on bark in the wilds of Vermont while you post endless comments about events hundreds of miles away. Apparently you could also afford the Yale tuition, the tuition at Kent State and have the time to endlessly promote your own rambling blog. If you’re so concerned, move back to New Haven.

      • Dowager

        Love it. Game. Set. Match. (at the risk of further perpetuating my stereotype)

  • The Anti-Yale

    Eat a quart of plain yogurt a day at 68 not bark and push a lawnmower up hill 4 hrs at a time. Worked full time as janitor while at Yale. Pumped gas and was a dorm counselor full time at Kent. The Anti Yale blog has has 154,349 page views in 3 years. Elderly schmelderly! I maintain 74 blogs and have a YouTube channel : PKvermonter (one word).

  • The Anti-Yale

    PS Town/gown83: I ws born and raised in New Haven.was on the mayor’s Bicentennial Commission in Hamden negotiating donation of Thornton Wilder’s study to Miller Library. I ELECT to be in Vt.

    • towngown83

      Then elect to return and help solve the problems instead of sniping from a mountain in Vermont. Your accomplishments 30 or more years ago are nice, but don’t just sit on your mountain laurels.

  • The Anti-Yale

    http://pkvermonter.blogspot.com SORRY TOO LATE . BESIDES I GAVE ENOUGH TO YALE/NEW HAVEN:60 minutes and the prostitute with AIS interrupted my life for ten years.

  • The Anti-Yale

    AIDS

  • The Anti-Yale
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