Ward 22 is a little cleaner following last Saturday’s Dixwell cleanup.
Jeanette Morrison, who won the ward’s Democratic nomination for alderman in a landslide September primary, organized the cleanup in an attempt to bring the ward together while providing Dixwell with cleaner streets. Morrison, who will face repeat challenger Cordelia Thorpe in November’s general election, is working on her campaign promise to “bring Dixwell back to its glory days.”
“I want our ward to be a blueprint for the city for how people with differences work together, because we have everybody in our ward,” Morrison said. “One of my biggest priorities was, after winning the primary, showing an example of the type of thing that will happen under my leadership by having this cleanup.”
The cleanup, which lasted from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, covered the Dixwell corridor from Lake Place to Munson Street. Morrison, who estimated that the event drew 70 participants, said she received the idea for the event from Dixwell icon Ed Grant, who started similar neighborhood cleanups in the 1960s.
Ward 1 aldermanic candidate Sarah Eidelson ’12, who attended the cleanup, said it mainly consisted of picking up trash and raking leaves, but it helped to bring Ward 22 together.
“I think it’s really fantastic that Jeanette is organizing community events right away, and is really trying to put the message of her campaign into action,” Eidelson said. “I think it definitely brought the community together — different people from different parts of the neighborhood and of the ward coming together and taking responsibility for the streets.”
But before she is alderwoman, Morrison will run off against Thorpe, who received just four votes in the primary election. Thorpe, who has served as co-chair of the Ward 22 Democratic Committee since 2006, said she is hoping to meet with Yale students to recruit them to help with her campaign.
“I want to get the people the services they deserve, because [Dixwell residents] are the highest taxpayers in the city of New Haven and I want them to get their fair share of services in a timely manner,” Thorpe said.
Despite receiving almost 90 times the number of votes that Thorpe did in the primary, Morrison said she is still working hard to canvass voters. If she wins the general election, Morrison said her focus as alderwoman will be on reducing community violence.
She said she wants to develop a youth center similar to Dixwell’s shuttered Q House, which closed eight years ago following mismanagement and funding cuts. With a new outlet for youth, she said she hopes to see a decline in the level of community violence that Dixwell has seen in recent years.
“I want this violence, these shootings, these killings to stop,” Morrison said. “We have to stop this; we have to preserve the lives of our children.”
Following the primary, challenger Lisa Hopkins and incumbent Greg Morehead dropped out of the race. The election between Thorpe and Morrison will take place Nov. 8.