Kensington Playground Holiday Celebration and Update

by Jane Comins, Friends of Kensington Playground

On Sunday afternoon, Dec. 12, 2021, Friends of Kensington Playground (FOKP) hosted a festive Holiday Celebration in Kensington Playground (KP). Kids, families, and neighbors gathered around a Christmas tree to drink hot chocolate, eat delicious cookies and clementines, create holiday ornaments, and decorate the tree. Kids chose free books compliments of New Haven Reads. At 4 p.m. when we turned on the lights, the park was filled with song as Tangled Up In Blue, Yale’s folk music group, led a carol sing. It was heartwarming to see so many residents using the playground.

FOKP thanks Dunkin Donuts at 1137 Chapel, Edge of the Woods Market, Four Flours Bakery, and New Haven Reads for their donations, and Tangled Up In Blue. We’d also like to thank students from Hillhouse High School. They helped children make ornaments and drew a beautiful Rudolf on the sidewalk in chalk.

The court rejected The Community Builders’ (TCB) latest motion to intervene as a party in the lawsuit, a victory for us. Our lawsuit is about the lack of democratic process by the City in deciding to give away our neighborhood’s only public playground.

The Park Commission tabled our motion to create a pro-playground policy, presented back in July. They continue to break the law by not posting minutes of their meetings.

We have asked the New Haven Public Schools to donate a playscape to Kensington Playground. They own one at the now-closed Strong School on Orchard Street. It appears to be abandoned and is covered with graffiti. If they are willing, we would then ask the Parks Department to move it to Kensington Playground and paint it.

We owe our lawyer $925. We would be grateful for contributions in any amount.

To get involved, donate, and sign our petition, please visit our website: KensingtonPlayground.org

Protecting Dwight’s only playground from sale and development is costly. Take a stand for democracy. Fight environmental injustice. Require our City, State and federal governments to follow the law.

Happy New Year!

News from Friends of Kensington Playground

Jane Comins, Friends of Kensington Playground

We continue our fight to save Kensington Playground, the only public playground in Dwight. Thank you to those of you who have donated to our campaign. Our lawsuit continues. The next court date has not been set. As the legal activity continues, so do our legal bills.

Playground Proposal: On July 21, 2021 Friends of Kensington Playground asked the New Haven Board of Park Com-missioners to adopt a policy to “never give up the only public park in a neighborhood, and to always have at least one playground per neighborhood with a playscape and splash pad or water element.” They tabled the proposal, saying they would talk about it. Westville/West Hills, Fair Haven, Beaver Hills, and Downtown Community Manage-ment Teams have endorsed this position and sent letters to city officials. (Thank you!) Help us get on the agenda for your Management Team this fall.

Friends of Kensington Playground has created a timeline of key decisions made in the sale of Kensington Playground. It shows how there was only one meeting where public comment was allowed, and how the Board of Alders approved the sale despite tremendous opposition to it by residents. We have created posters to share how this undemocratic decision was made, and placed them in the park and on our website. Let us know your ideas about where else this information can be displayed.

Protecting Dwight’s only playground from sale and development is costly, even though we have done as much of the work as possible ourselves. Please be as generous as you can. Don’t let the City take this playground for $1 with an illegal process. Take a stand for democracy. Fight environmental injustice. Require our city, state and federal governments to follow the law. To get involved, donate, and sign our petition, please visit our website: KensingtonPlayground.org.

[Also see: ctmirror.org/ct-viewpoints/Kensington-playground-dwights-irreplaceable-greenspace-jane/#]

The Friends of Kensington Playground April Update

by Jane Comins, Friends of Kensington Playground

Taking the Dwight neighborhood’s only public playground for housing amounts to environmental injustice. Our efforts to save Kensington Playground from development continue.

Friends of Kensington Playground lawsuit in State court:

  • The City of New Haven has filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit (on the grounds of lack of standing).  One Friend owns her home and lives across the street, so we expect to win on that.
  • The Community Builders (TCB) has filed a motion to be a party in the lawsuit.  The judge has said no for now.

The Mayor said no to mediation at March’s neighborhood meeting, choosing instead to spend taxpayer funds needless-ly to defend a lawsuit.  There are win-win options. Mediation could be helpful.
We asked the national Advisory Council on Historic Preservation to get involved. They have asked the City of New Haven to explain how people in the community were involved in consideration of the sale of the site and how a review of the site’s historic significance was done in advance of the decision to sell it.

Friends of Kensington Playground will be hosting several events in the park. Please come and please wear a mask. Food Pantry, Easter Basket Giveaway: Saturday, April 3, 10 a.m.; Park Spring Clean Up: Sat., April 10, 10-11 a.m.; Kids Bike Safety Clinic: Sat., Apr. 17, 10 a.m.-12 p.m.; Clothing/Household Goods Giveaway – May, date pending.

To get involved, learn more, donate, and sign our petition, please visit our website: KensingtonPlayground.org.

Protecting Dwight’s only playground from sale and development is costly, even though we have done as much of the work as possible ourselves. Please be as generous as you can. Don’t let the City take this playground for $1 with an illegal process. Take a stand for democracy. Fight environ-mental injustice. Require our city, state and federal governments to follow the law.