New Haven recently announced $25 million in state funds will be used to renovate New Haven’s parks over the next 10 years. The initiative, called “The Master Plan,” received high marks with city leaders and residents.
“We have the most beautiful parks in the state,” said Christy Hass Dlugolenski, deputy director of parks and squares. “What the city has to offer to tourists are these vistas. … Some need a lot of influx [of funds] to help us make parks better for the community.”
Community Planning Liaison Claudine Chi said she believes such a significant grant will “provide quality parks and instill a sense of pride” in the city.
The Master Plan will affect most of New Haven’s parks. In choosing where the funds would be allocated, the city’s parks were evaluated in terms of demographic appeal, safety needs, possibilities of decreasing operation costs, and solving some inequities among the various parks.
An independent consulting group also polled city residents to help the city develop its plan.
“The poll indicated that the first priority would be to only address what [New Haven] already had,” Chi said, adding that the funds will be used towards improvements to current structures, not the creation of new parks.
Selected parks will be able to apply funds toward projects such as renovation of their facilities, trail cutting, and refurbishing old furniture.
“Of course, that doesn’t limit us from looking for more funds for those [parks] that were not earmarked,” Chi added.
Yalies said they’d jump at the opportunity to take a stroll in a newly redesigned park.
“It’s nice to get away from the bustle of College Street,” said Alyssa Pheobus ’04.
Having first visited parks to complete painting assignments, Pheobus now considers them valuable assets to the community, “where students and community residents intersect, especially considering the relationship Yale has had in the past with New Haven.”
The Master Plan comes at the same time as many other renovations designed to help improve the look of New Haven, city officials said. The Wooster Square area received $1 million for construction of new sidewalks and other projects, and the same amount was also allocated for improvements to the Upper Chapel West district.