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FRIENDS OF
KENSINGTON PLAYGROUND

Fighting to Save Our Park From Development

25 Kensington Street, New Haven CT

 

Our video was filmed, edited, and produced by Collin at Tangible Planet Photography.   https://www.tangibleplanet.com

Thanks, Collin!

 
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THE LEGAL FIGHT

Our legal fight against the sale of Kensington Playground consists of several elements:


In November 2020, we filed a legal complaint against the City of New Haven citing CEPA and 7-131n.  


CEPA, the Connecticut Environmental Policy Act, establishes a process by which state agencies must identify and review their proposed “actions which may significantly affect the environment”. The core purpose of CEPA is to provide a public process for state agencies to identify and assess the extent to which their proposed actions may potentially affect the environment, and to evaluate alternatives to avoid or minimize such impacts. 


CT General Statute 7-131n requires that when a municipality takes land previously intended for use as park or for other recreational or open space purposes, it must hold a dedicated public hearing on the issue, replace the parkland with parkland of equal value and size, and provide the public with the replacement land at the public hearing.


In November 2020, separate from the legal complaint, we requested both a NEPA Review and a Section 106 Review.


The National Environment Policy Act (NEPA ) requires preservation of aspects of our historic, cultural and environmental heritage as much as possible.  Since the Federal government is funding part of the construction on the parkland, a NEPA review is appropriate.  


Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act requires review and consideration of federal or federally funded activities that can have an impact on properties listed in or eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places.  The proposed construction is within the Dwight Street National Historic District on land eligible for the National Register.  Thus, a Section 106 review is required.


In January 2021, through our attorney, we provided the City of New Haven with several alternative building sites.  You can review that document here.


If you have any questions, please reach out to us through the contact button.

 
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MAKE A DONATION AND HELP US SAVE THIS PLAYGROUND AND PARK

We are appealing to the community for donations to help with legal costs and, if we win, to improve the parks's playscape.  


We will accept donations through our Save Kensington Playground GoFundMe campaign here


If you prefer to donate by check, please send your check payable to Friends of Kensington Playground, c/o 66 Edgewood Ave., New Haven, CT 06511.


Note: Friends of Kensington Playground is a registered public charity with the State of CT Department of Consumer Protection. We are an incorporated non-profit, but not tax exempt, so your donation is not tax deductible. 

 

WHO WE ARE

We meet on the 4th Saturday of each month at 10 AM.

The Friends of Kensington Playground are a group of neighbors concerned about the sale of Kensington Playground. Despite outcry from the neighborhood, the City of New Haven voted to sell our park for $1 to The Community Builders, so that a 15-unit apartment building and a 15-space surface parking lot could be built on the parkland.

We campaigned against the sale at numerous city meetings, collected signatures and testimony against the sale, and door knocked to make residents aware of the sale.

In November 2020, we filed a lawsuit against the city over the sale citing CEPA and 7131-n.  Separately, we also requested a NEPA review (since federal monies will fund the apartment building construction) and a Section 106 review (since the playground is within our historic district).

To join us and get involved, reach out to us through the contact button.

 
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The Friends of Kensington Playground’s statement on the Oct 19 Board of Alders decision to sell Kensington Playground for $1 to The Community Builders:

“It is a bad day for democracy in New Haven.  Only three Alders, Douglass, Festa, and Roth, stood with the neighborhood.  Others relied on old stereotypes of Kensington Street to hijack our only playground to benefit a non-profit developer that has not been a good landlord.  Kensington Playground is a major success story for Policing in New Haven.  Lt. John Healy made it his top priority when taking over this policing district.  As a result it is now a place we can use. The City did not follow the law.  The Dwight Central Management Team never gave its support. Housing can be built without taking this playground from our children. Yet two of our three alders want to sacrifice a precious neighborhood asset rather than leading us to a win-win solution.  We call upon the Mayor to reject this deal.  We ask the City to convene a mediation process to help the parties find a housing solution without sacrificing our playground.  That is the kind of leadership we need and deserve."

 

MEDIA COVERAGE

NEW HAVEN INDEPENDENT: MAYOR JOINS PARK GROUP, AS (ANOTHER) PARKS GROUP SUES CITY

November 19, 2020

New Haven’s mayor joined a national coalition seeking more money for urban parks—while a group seeking to save an urban park in his backyard sued the city for selling it.

Those two public greenspace developments were announced in separate press releases.

Read more here

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NEW HAVEN REGISTER: OUR CHILDREN NEED... TO PLAY’: NEW HAVEN PARK ADVOCATES FILE SUIT OVER $1 LAND SALE TO DEVELOPER

November 18, 2020

They are not giving up.

Friends of Kensington Playground filed a court complaint over the city’s decision to sell a Dwight neighborhood park for $1 to a developer as part of a plan to build affordable housing.  Read more here

NEW HAVEN REGISTER: 
IT’S ‘NOT LIKE THERE WILL BE NO GREEN SPACE’; NEW HAVEN ALDERS TRADE PARK FOR AFFORDABLE HOUSING

October 20, 2020

Affordable housing has trumped some green space as the Board of Alders voted to sell Kensington Park to The Community Builders, with 15 new units of affordable housing to be constructed at the site.


Aldermanic President Tyisha Walker-Myers, D-23, said she was confident the city had done its “due diligence” in the deal, which had been under consideration for some time. Immediate neighbors have said recently that they were not aware of the plans and argued that new housing be placed elsewhere.

Read the full article here

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NEW HAVEN INDEPENDENT:
CITY SELLS PARK;
HOUSING CALL PREVAILS

October 20, 2020

On October 19, the Board of Alders voted overwhelmingly in support of trading a Kensington Street park for 15 new affordable apartments — but only after an impassioned debate about the relative merits of building low-income housing atop public green space.


Read the full article here

NEW HAVEN REGISTER: NEW HAVEN RESIDENTS OFFER CITY $2 TO SAVE PARK, THAT'S DOUBLE WHAT DEVELOPER IS PAYING

October 12, 2020

NEW HAVEN — Mayor Justin Elicker wouldn’t take the $2 symbolically offered to save Kensington Park, although it doubled what the city had received to sell it.

The proposed deal was already in motion.

The Board of Alders’ Community Development Committee voted Sept. 30 to sell the parcel to The Community Builders, a Boston-based developer, for $1 so it could use the site to build 15 units of affordable housing.

Along with the proposed new units, the project has garnered $30 million in federal funds to rehabilitate 96 older units owned by TCB and $100,000 in city Community Development Block Grant funds. The project also could mean new opportunities for living spaces in a city where 10,000 people are on a list for affordable housing.

Read the full article here.

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YALE DAILY NEWS: DWIGHT RESIDENTS OPPOSE CITY’S PLAN TO DESTROY PARK FOR AFFORDABLE HOUSING

October 12, 2020

Just four blocks away from campus, there is a medium-sized park dotted with trees, benches and one broken splash pad. It’s also the center of a city-wide debate about the need for affordable housing and the significance of greenspace to local communities. 

New Haven plans to sell Kensington Playground, a public park in the Dwight neighborhood, to a Boston-based developer for one dollar. In return, the developer will build 15 units of affordable housing on the site. The plan has met opposition from some Dwight residents, who see the park as a safe space for church-goers and children. As the final approval meeting for the apartment block approaches, residents have begun a push to rally city-wide support and defeat the land swap proposition.  Read the full article here.

NEW HAVEN INDEPENDENT: MAYOR TURNS DOWN $2 FOR PARK

October 8, 2020

Pat and Nia confronted Mayor Elicker at his East Rock "Meet the Mayor"event and offer him $2 for KP, doubling TCB's offer of $1.

Read more here:

“I’m going to double our money,” Dwight neighborhood activist Pat Wallace told Elicker.

“It’s making me a bit emotional to see so much greenspace here in East Rock,” said Nia Campinha-Bacote  “It’s far beyond any green space we have. What will you say to us? To the black and brown people who enjoy the park?”

Elicker noted that the deal includes public greenspace in Newhallville.

“How is putting land in another neighborhood going to help us?” responded Campinha-Bacote.

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EYEWITNESS NEWS:
NEW HAVEN RESIDENTS TRYING
TO SAVE PARK AS CITY EYES IT
FOR NEW APARTMENTS

October 5, 2020

Check out Channel 3 reporter Matt McFarland's story on the Playground here. Matt speaks with three residents using the park.

NEW HAVEN INDEPENDENT:
NEW HOUSING OK'D AFTER PARK SALE DEBATE

October 1, 2020

Read Tom Breen's coverage of the BOA Community Development Committee's hearing on the sale of Kensington Playground for $1 here.

Be sure to watch our neighborhood testimony in two video clips at the end of the article, particularly the second clip.

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NEW HAVEN REGISTER:
A NEW HAVEN PARK PLAN CALLS FOR HOUSING; NEIGHBORS FEAR LOSS OF 'IMPORTANT ASSET'

October 1, 2020

Read Mary O'Leary's coverage of the Board of Alder's Community Development Committee's hearing here.

 
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Don't let Mayor Elicker and the City

take our playground!  


Sign our online petition here

 
 
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YOU LIVE HERE.  YOUR VOICE COUNTS!

PARK CLEAN-UP
SATURDAY  11/21 AT 10 AM

Update: Thanks to everyone who came out to rake leaves with us. We have had a great time: terrific weather in the fall weather, meeting new neighbors, and

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BOARD OF ALDERS, COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE MEETING

9/30 AT 6 PM.  

Update: Despite powerful testimony against the deal, the BOA CDC voted in favor of the deal. Now the deal heads to the full BOA for a vote in mid Oct.

and check back here for more updates.

Read more in the New Haven Independent here

and in the New Haven Register here



Thank you to everyone who stood up for the playground and the children of Dwight neighborhood.


Tell the Board of Alders what YOU want the space to be!  A better playground? Affordable ownership housing?
Let your voice be heard.

Join us in the playground on Wednesday, Sept 30 at 6 PM when we attend this meeting via Zoom.

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SIGN-MAKING
SAT. 9/12/20 

Update:  Thank you to everyone who came out and joined us.  The highlight of the morning was creating a "Kids Play Here.  Pick up after your dog." sign and poop bag station.


Join us in the playground Saturday morning, 9/1/20, at 10 AM to continue making signs opposing the sale of Kensington Playground to Community Builders for $1, so that housing and parking can be built over the parkland.

Materials and refreshments will be provided.

Please wear a mask.

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COMMUNITY MEETING 

WED 9/9/20 AT 6:30 PM IN THE PLAYGROUND

Update:  Thanks to everyone who came out and made signs with us. We had a great night.

Join us Wednesday night for a community discussion about the playground.  Tell us how you use the park and how we can make the playground better.  We'll discuss how we can work together to save Kensington Playground.  

Refreshments provided.

Please wear a mask.

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DWIGHT CENTRAL MANAGEMENT TEAM MEETING  9/1/20

Update: Thank you to everyone who came out and joined us at the meeting on Zoom in the Playground!
Your voice is important and appreciated.


Fight for what you want the space to be!  Tell the DCMT Meeting on Tuesday, Sept 1 at 6:30 PM what YOU want to happen!  Join the Community Meeting by computer on Zoom from the playground.

Photo Credit: Emily Hayes, New Haven Independent, March 9, 2020; image taken at an earlier DCMT meeting.

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PLAYGROUND
CLEANUP

8/29/20

Update:  Thanks to all the volunteers who joined us for this successful event!


Do you want the playground gone or made a good playground?  If the neighborhood wants to get rid of the playground, should more rental housing be built, or affordable OWNERSHIP housing by a developer with a good track record?  
Come for a playground cleanup and conversation, Saturday, August 29, 2020, 10 a.m.  Rakes, leaf bags, disposable gloves, snacks provided.   Please wear a mask.  

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“It always seems impossible until it is done.”   — Nelson Mandela


CONTACT THE FRIENDS OF KENSINGTON PLAYGROUND

25 Kensington Street, New Haven CT

 

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