Isaac Yu, Contributing Photographer
At their monthly community management meeting, Fair Haven leaders discussed the progress of various social services in the area.
On Thursday evening, members highlighted the work of the city’s harm reduction program, which aims to lessen the number of improperly discarded hypodermic needles, as well as the “Vaccinate Fair Haven” program, which hopes to further vaccine equity in New Haven. Fair Haven officials also shared the content of community crime reports at the meeting. According to Michael Fumiatti, the New Haven Police Department District Manager for Fair Haven, the reports indicated an overall reduction in crime in the neighborhood.
“As a result [of the downturn in crime] we’re able to focus on quality-of-life issues,” Fumiatti said. “We’re going to work on getting outreach to the community, and have mental health providers and homeless services to the area.”
Still, Fumiatti mentioned a burglary that occurred yesterday, where Fair Haven’s Strong School lost $20,000 dollars because of stolen metal. Lee Cruz, the community outreach director of the Community Foundation for Greater New Haven, said that the damage left by the burglary was much greater because the removal of metal from the building left holes in walls and other property fixtures. Cruz said that he is in communication with New Haven Public Schools superintendent Iline Tracey, who is working with NHPD Chief Renee Dominguez to find the perpetrators.
At the meeting, Fumiatti shared the police force’s desire to make modifications to Criscuolo Park and asked residents to suggest potential improvements, handing out his personal cell phone number to attendees. He said that the park has been a major site of drinking and smoking, as well as large, unsafe gatherings of more than 15 people.
The sergeant added that the area has been associated with accidents involving dirt bikes. Fumiatti said that those on dirt bikes come from the highway, which is parallel to the park, causing pedestrian accidents as people exit from the park. The city is planning to make the park more “aesthetically pleasing” and accessible to family and residents conducting COVID-safe activities.
A number of health and public safety issues were also brought up during Thursday’s meeting. Organizing volunteer David Weinreb, who is also a board member of the Fair Haven CMT, shared information about “Vaccinate Fair Haven!,” which kicked-off on March 13.
“We are connecting with over 5,000 homes and 17,000 residents to promote vaccine awareness, especially as these intersect with equity gaps and vaccination rates affecting people of color,” Weinreb said. “We’re continuing to gather the strength of neighbors and community organizations to door-knock and get out the vaccine.”
Now that all Connecticut residents over the age of 16 are eligible for the vaccine, the clinic is planning another canvassing event on April 10. Residents interested in volunteering should visit FHCHC’s website to sign up, Weinreb said.
Drug Intelligence Officer Bobby Lawlor, Jr. also presented a plan to install a city syringe disposal kiosk at the corner of Grand Avenue and Ferry Street.
“There are a lot of these in cities around the country… and folks have seen a lot of success pulling in syringes that way,” Lawlor said. “We’re trying to provide a safe place to properly dispose of these [syringes].”
Representatives from two other groups presented updates on their activities: grocery service FISH New Haven, which serves needy and homebound residents, and Long Wharf Theater, which has an ongoing season of competitions and community-based plays.
After giving community interest groups an opportunity to speak, officials took a moment to announce information about upcoming events. Ward 8 Alder Ellen Cupo encouraged participation in the city’s ongoing budget workshop process, while Cruz reminded attendees to sign up for notifications related to the city’s 2021 street sweeping season. Cruz ended the meeting with a roll call of the six New Haven Alders – from Wards 8, 9, 10, 14, 15 and 16 — whose constituencies include Fair Haven. Only one, Cupo, was present.
The Fair Haven CMT meets on the first Thursday of each month.
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