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FRIENDS OF
KENSINGTON PLAYGROUND

25 Kensington Street, New Haven CT

MEDIA COVERAGE

NEW HAVEN INDEPENDENT:
Kensington Kids Envision Park Renewal
January 30, 2024

Link to full article

A tire swing. A skate park. ​“A lot of butterflies.” And toys promoting ​“sensory play.” Neighborhood children eagerly offered those visions for a planned redesign of Kensington Playground, following years of adult-dominated debates over the future of the park. About 20 kids in all (joined by just over 20 adults) from the Dwight and West River neighborhoods had a chance to talk to the city officials planning to remake the neighborhood playground on Monday night. They filled the Amistad Academy Elementary community room for a collective brainstorming session, during which City Engineer Giovanni Zinn and Board of Alders President Tyisha Walker-Myers committed to finding the funding for some community-suggested improvements to the park.

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NEW HAVEN INDEPENDENT: 
PIZZA & PLAYGROUND PLANS PREVAIL AT KENSINGTON PARK

August 14, 2023

How about an upgraded splash pad — one where there’s not only refreshing spray, but the really cool kind where buckets of water fall on your head?

How about grills and picnic tables? And swings and a play apparatus, but one not made of metal because that gets too hot. Maybe a sandbox, but be sure it has a cover to keep the cats out; exercise equipment too, and with all that still keep enough open space for touch football.

Read more here

 

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NEW HAVEN INDEPENDENT:
SPLASHING AND MULCHING

July 3, 2023

The sound of rustling leaves merged with squeals of joy and the gurgling of the Kensington Playground splash pad as a light mist wafted through the heavy heat. Despite the stifling smog that hung in the air, neither the Friends of Kensington Playground clean-up volunteers nor the neighborhood’s kids let it deter them from rejoicing in the beauty of a recently saved public park. 


Read more here

CHANNEL 3 WSFB: 
KENSINGTON PLAYGROUND SAVED

June 20, 2023

Watch the news story here

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NEW HAVEN REGISTER: 

HOUSING PLAN AT NEW HAVEN PARK DROPPED

June 16, 2023

NEW HAVEN — There won’t be a housing development at a park in Dwight after all

After a Boston-based affordable housing unit developer decided not to pursue a housing project at Kensington Park, the city filed a motion to dismiss a 2020 lawsuit advocates had filed in an attempt to stop the development.

Read more here

NEW HAVEN INDEPENDENT:
PARK SAVED;

NEW HOUSING PLAN DROPPED

June 15, 2023

A Boston-based affordable housing developer has dropped its plans to buy a Kensington Street public park and construct 15 new apartments in its stead — prompting the Elicker administration to move to end a related years-long lawsuit on the grounds that the contested public greenspace will remain public and green.​

Read more here


 

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February 19, 2023

If you have raised children in the city, you know how important it is to be able to get to a playground. Playgrounds and parks are vital for children who live in cities in order to have safe spaces to run and jump, swing and climb. Vigorous play is essential for children’s health, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Read more here

 

KIDS GET WHEELS AT KENSINGTON PLAYGROUND
NEW HAVEN INDEPENDENT

April 17, 2021

Winter Carter, 5, received a new bike on Saturday morning — and jumped for joy.

She was one of the 13 children who took bike and safety lessons and received refurbished bikes at the latest event to build public support for saving Kenginston Playground from becoming the site of new housing.

Read more here

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KIDS’ EASTER EVENT HIGHLIGHTS QUEST TO SAVE KENSINGTON PLAYGROUND

NEW HAVEN INDEPENDENT

April 5, 2021

Friends of Kensington Playground and Upon This Rock Ministries distributed 45 Easter baskets and 30 bags filled of canned goods to Dwight residents on Saturday.

Read more here

KIDS ONCE AGAIN SPLASHING IN NEW HAVEN PLAYGROUND
NEW HAVEN REGISTER

June 25, 2022

While adults continue the larger fight over the elimination of Kensington Playground, in the meantime, at least the kids in the Dwight neighborhood will get to experience one of the joys of summer missing for the past five years.

Read more here

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On 6/15/23, we learned that the City will no longer be selling the park to a developer and that Kensington Playground will remain a park.  Read more here

DONATE AND HELP US IMPROVE THIS PLAYGROUND AND PARK

Our strength is amplified with collective action, and you can help make a difference with Friends of Kensington Playground right now! Get in touch today and join our community in making a lasting impact in the Dwight neighborhood.

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Help Us

Donations will be used to fund upcoming family-friendly park events such as our Pumpkin Festival, Holiday Celebration, Spring Celebration, and Summer Neighborhood Cookout.   

 

We 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 501(c)(3) charity. Donations are tax deductible.

This drawing was made by a child who lives adjacent to Kensington Playground.

A PLAYGROUND IN EVERY NEIGHBORHOOD

A Safe Place for Children to Play

In July, 2021, Friends of Kensington Playground asked the New Haven Board of Park Commissioners to adopt

a park policy with the following elements:

  • Every neighborhood in the City would have at least one playground;

  • Each playground would be fully equipped with at least a playscape, a splash pad and mature trees;

  •  In a neighborhood with only one playground, that playground would not be sold or given away.

Every community management team (CMT) in the City endorsed this

proposal.


To learn more, read our presentation here and the accompanying narrative here 


And here is information on Park Maintenance that we provided to the Park Commission in April 2023.

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AIR QUALITY AND PARKS IN THE DWIGHT NEIGHBORHOOD:  A SURVEY

Purple Monitor Project

Power to Play Project

In order to prepare to update the neighborhood plan created by the Dwight neighborhood years ago, three neighborhood organizations united to survey the neighborhood in the summer of 2022. We especially thank our neighbors that took the time to talk with us as we conducted surveys. Youth@Work of the City of New Haven graciously provided summer interns to design and conduct the survey, and to do other activities to engage young and old members of the community. We also thank to the Catholic Campaign for Human Development for supporting this effort with a grant to support our neighborhood organizing efforts.

Read the report here


The Greater Dwight Development Corporation (GDDC) is sponsoring a project to address air quality issues. Kensington Playground is an important asset because the trees clean the air and provide a cool spot on a hot day. 


Read the Purple Monitor Fact Sheet here


Read the Dwight Community Health Profile here

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IN SUPPORT OF URBAN PARKS

These articles may be of interest to you.

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MAKING PHYSICAL ACTIVITY A WAY OF LIFE: AMERICAN ACADEMY OF PEDIATRICS POLICY EXPLAINED

Committed to Quality

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that infants, children, teens, and children with special needs have time for physical activity each day.

Read more here

HOW HEAT AFFECTS HEALTH: AN OVERLOOKED OUTCOME OF CLIMATE CHANGE

CT Mirror

By 1 p.m., it was 95 degrees in Norwalk on what would turn out to be the last day of the third mini-heat wave of this summer.

Or maybe it was the fourth.

It was hot, again. The humidity was off the charts, again. And the air quality was lousy, again.

Read more

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AIR QUALITY CAN AFFECT HEALTH. CLIMATE CHANGE IS WORSENING BOTH.

CT Mirror

Sandra Rapp has had breathing problems for at least 20 years. She was a heavy smoker — a habit she gave up 30 years ago — spent many years working in manufacturing and has lived near the pollution and heat of highways in New Haven and Waterbury for decades.

Read more


REDLINING MEANS 45 MILLION AMERICANS ARE BREATHING DIRTIER AIR, 50 YEARS AFTER IT ENDED

By Darryl Fears

 The Washington Post, March 9, 2022

Decades of federal housing discrimination did not only depress home values, lower job opportunities and spur poverty in communities deemed undesirable because of race. It’s why 45 million Americans are breathing dirtier air today, according to a landmark study released Wednesday.

The practice known as redlining was outlawed more than a half-century ago, but it continues to impact people who live in neighborhoods that government mortgage officers shunned for 30 years because people of color and immigrants lived in them.

Read more

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UNDERSTANDING CHILD-FRIENDLY URBAN DESIGN

Brookings Institute, October 21, 2021

To address children’s language and spatial skills, cities around the world are beginning to invest in Playful Learning Landscapes (PLL)—installations and programming that promote children and families’ learning through play in the public realm. A new PLL metrics frameworkprovides a roadmap to collect data that demonstrates PLL’s tremendous potential to narrow opportunity gaps while creating more livable and playful cities. Read more here

TO COMBAT GUN VIOLENCE, CLEAN UP THE NEIGHBORHOOD

New York Times, October 8, 2021

Until a Black man turns 45, his most likely cause of death is homicide. After each such violent death, traumatic shock waves pierce through family and friends. Whole neighborhoods suffer. In some communities with high rates of violent crime, babies are more likely to be born early, children are more likely to struggle in school and adults are more likely to report being depressed, as well as face increased risk of heart disease.
read more here

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Image by Jon Moore

TREES COULD BE A MENTAL, PHYSICAL AND CLIMATE CHANGE ANTIDOTE

NPR, September 18, 2021

A growing body of research shows the many ways trees improves our mental and physical health. There's a push to understand more. Read more

WHY AN EAST HARLEM STREET IS 31 DEGREES HOTTER THAN CENTRAL PARK WEST

New York Times, August 20, 2021

If you want to map inequality in New York, you can just count trees.  Read more here

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AS RISING HEAT BAKES U.S. CITIES, THE POOR OFTEN FEEL IT MOST

NPR - MEG ANDERSON, SEAN MCMINN · SEPTEMBER 3, 2019

NPR analyzed 97 of the most populous U.S. cities using the median household income from U.S. Census Bureau data and thermal satellite images from NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey. In more than three-quarters of those cities, we found that where it's hotter, it also tends to be poorer. And at least 69 had an even stronger relationship than Baltimore, the first city we mapped.

This means that as the planet warms, the urban poor in dozens of large U.S. cities will actually experience more heat than the wealthy, simply by virtue of where they live. And not only will more people get sick from rising temperatures in the future, we found they likely already are.  Read more

IN DEFENSE OF TALL TREES: IDENTIFY THE VALUABLE AND STRONGEST LARGE TREES IN CITIES AND TOWNS. THEN WORK TO KEEP THEM.

2015 article by CT DEEP Urban Forestry Coordinator Chris Donnelly

In the wake of recent storms in Connecticut, residents have criticized tall trees as threats to public safety and the reliability of electricity and cable lines. Yet, tall trees are very much a natural part of the Connecticut landscape.
Read more

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DEADLY AIR POLLUTANT ‘DISPROPORTIONATELY AND SYSTEMATICALLY’ HARMS AMERICANS OF COLOR, STUDY FINDS

The Washington Post, April 28, 2021
By Juliet Eilperin and Darryl Fears


Nearly every source of the nation’s most pervasive and deadly air pollutantdisproportionately affects Americans of color, regardless of their state or income level, according to a study published Wednesday. The analysis of fine-particle matter, which includes soot, shows how decisions made decades ago about where to build highways and industrial plants continue to harm the health of Black, Latino and Asian Americans today.

Read more

PEOPLE OF COLOR BREATHE MORE HAZARDOUS AIR. THE SOURCES ARE EVERYWHERE.

New York Times, April 29, 2021
By Hiroko Tabuchi and Nadja Popovich

Over the years, a mountain of evidence has brought to light a stark injustice: Compared with white Americans, people of color in the United States suffer disproportionately from exposure to pollution.

Now, a new study on a particularly harmful type of air pollution shows just how broadly those disparities hold true. Black Americans are exposed to more pollution from every type of source, including industry, agriculture, all manner of vehicles, construction, residential sources and even emissions from restaurants. People of color more broadly, including Black and Hispanic people and Asian-Americans, are exposed to more pollution from nearly every source.

Read more

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E.P.A. TO REVIEW RULES ON SOOT LINKED TO DEATHS, WHICH TRUMP DECLINED TO TIGHTEN

New York Times, June 10, 2021

The Biden administration says it will consider tougher limits on a deadly air pollutant that disproportionately affects low-income and minority communities. 


The Biden administration will reconsider federal limits on fine industrial soot, one of the most common and deadliest forms of air pollution, with an eye toward imposing tough new rules on emissions from power plants, factories and other industrial facilities. Read more here.


In Dwight, we are in the 85th percentile in CT for this deadly particulate matter. We are in the 90th percentile in New England and in the 74th percentile in the nation. 

See data from EPA here.

SINCE WHEN HAVE TREES EXISTED ONLY FOR RICH AMERICANS?

NY Times, June 30, 2021

Rich Americans enjoy almost 50 percent more greenery in their environment compared with lower-income communities.
Read more

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Why Warblers Flock to Wealthier Neighborhoods

n the unequal distribution of birds and other species, ecologists are tracing the impact of bigoted urban policies adopted decades ago.

New York Times, November 21, 2023

At a meeting of urban wildlife researchers in Washington, D.C., in June, one diagram made it into so many PowerPoint presentations that its recurrence became a running joke. The subject, though, was serious: The diagram illustrated the links between structural racism, pernicious landscape features such as urban heat islands, and impacts to biodiversity, and it came from a study published in the fall of 2020 in the journal Science.

Read more here
 

LINKS TO DOCUMENTS

Here are quick links to useful documents that we cite often:

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THANK YOU

The following businesses and organizations have provided financial and in-kind support to us, and for that we are most grateful:

Dunkin'

Bikes for Kids

Black Corner Investments

Brick Oven Pizza

Chapel West Special Services District 

Devil's Gear Bike Shop

Edge of the Woods Market

Greater Dwight Development Corporation

A Hustlers Vibe

Kryptonite

New Haven Friends Meeting

New Haven Reads

St. Martin de Porres Church

Stop and Shop

Woodbridge True Value Hardware

We are also grateful to all the individuals who have generously donated their time, money, services, and goods.  


We couldn't do it without you!

Thank you!

UPCOMING EVENTS

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Holiday Celebration!

Saturday, December 16, 3-5 p.m.

(Rain date: Sunday, December 17
 

Join us for this free family-friendly event in Kensington Playground.

Pumpkin Festival!

Saturday, October 28, 2023
1-3 PM

Rain date: Sunday, October 29

Join us for this free family-friendly event in Kensington Playground. Kids can decorate pumpkins and play Pumpkin Balloon Pop.  There will be cider and donut refreshments for everyone, and the splash pad will be festively decorated -- perfect for taking family photos.

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PRESERVING KENSINGTON PLAYGROUND: WHY IT MATTERS

Thursday, October 5, 2023
6-8 PM
St. Paul's UAME Church
Fellowship Hall
150 Dwight St

Join Friends of Kensington Playground on Thursday, October 5, 2023, from 6-8 p.m., at St. Paul’s UAME Church, for a conversation about “Preserving Kensington Playground: Why It Matters.”   


Speakers for the event include Attorney Keith Ainsworth, Dr. Robert Dubrow of the Yale School of Public Health, Walker Holmes of The Trust for Public Land, and Chris Ozyck of Urban Resources Initiative.



Reception and refreshments.

Free and open to all.

Free off-street parking.

Please RSVP on Eventbrite here

or to (203) 285-5077.  

150 Dwight Street, New Haven

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KENSINGTON PLAYGROUND’S FUTURE:

A MEETING TO DISCUSS WHAT RESIDENTS WANT IN OUR PARK

FRIDAY, AUGUST 11 AT 5 PM


Please join us this Friday, 8/11 at 5 p.m. in Kensington Playground for a meeting about the future of our park.  How would you like to see the park improved?


Pizza and refreshments will be served.

Kids welcomed.


Free and open to all.


Flyers attached

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KENSINGTON PLAYGROUND COMMUNITY WORK DAYS

FRIDAYS AT 4 PM

THROUGH EARLY AUGUST

Join us to plant and landscape Kensington Playground!
We are excited to announce that Urban Resource Initiatives (URI) and FOKP have established a Community Greenspace Work Day group for Kensington Playground. 
URI’s Community Greenspace program provides material supplies, technical advice, and classroom-based and hands-on training to support resident-driven community greening projects.

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SUMMER NEIGHBORHOOD COOKOUT

SATURDAY, JULY 1 2-4 PM

Thank you to everyone who came out and joined us for this fun event!

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SPRING FESTIVAL

SATURDAY, APRIL 8, 1-3 P.M.

Join us for the fun family friendly event celebrating Spring!

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HOLIDAY CELEBRATION!
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 17, 3-5 PM

Update:  Thank you to everyone who joined us! We had a wonderful time, choosing kids books, making ornaments and decorating the tree, playing in leaves, and drinking hot chocolate and eating cookies.  See our Facebook page for images from the event.

Join us for a HOLIDAY CELEBRATION around the Christmas Tree in Kensington Playground as we celebrate Christmas, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, New Year’s Eve, and 3 Kings Day.

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PUMPKIN FESTIVAL!
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 29, 1-4 P.M. 

Join us for this fun, free family orientated event! Kid's can decorate pumpkins and play Pumpkin Balloon Pop. There will be cider and refreshments for everyone, and the splash pad will be turned into a colorful ballon arch for taking festive pictures.
Renee's Closet will be giving away free clothing, too.

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NEIGHBORHOOD COOKOUT!  
SATURDAY, AUGUST 6, 2-4 PM

Join us for a fun, free Neighborhood Cookout on Saturday, August 6 from 2-4 PM in Kensington Playground.  We’ll have chicken, hamburgers, hot dogs, and veggie burgers, as well as family friendly games including corn hole.  


Enjoy the coolest spot in our neighborhood—the Kensington Playground splash pad!


We need volunteers to help staff this event, and we welcome donations to cover the cost of this event. 

clicking ‘Create a page from this item’ in the edit panel.

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EASTER EVENT!
SATURDAY, APRIL 16, 1-3 PM

Update: Thank you to everyone who joined us and helped make this an egg-cellent event. We were hop-py to see you! Here's a slideshow of the fun!


Join us for this fun, free event!  There will be games and activities for children and their families, including:

  • Easter Basket Giveaway

  • Photos with Easter Bunny

  • Easter Egg Hunt

  • Easter Bonnet Decorating and Parade

  • Books for Kids

  • Renee's Closet Clothing Giveaway

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HOLIDAY CELEBRATION!
SUNDAY, DECEMBER 12,   3-4:30 P.M.

UPDATE: Thank you to everyone who joined us for this event!   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. 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.  Click here to see images from the event.

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HALLOWEEN PARTY!
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 31 FROM 1-4

Update:  Thank you to everyone who joined us for this event!  Kids decorated pumpkins, played games, and trick or treated for candy, and enjoyed delicious food with their families. Thanks to all the organizations, businesses, and individuals who made our event possible. Here's a slideshow of the event.

Join us for this family friendly event! Food, music, sweets, and cider, including Chicken Wings from Mama Mary's Soul Food. 
There will also be pumpkin decorating and games for kids!
All free!

Costumes welcome. Please wear a mask.

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RENEE’S CLOSET, POP-UP VACCINATION CLINIC
SATURDAY, AUGUST 21

10 AM - 1 PM

Update:  We had a wonderful event! Thanks to all who attended!  Thanks to Griffin Health and our volunteers!

Free walk up vaccination clinic, and a clothing and back-to-school supplies giveaway.
Free and open to all!

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MISS MAE'S SINGING AND STORYTELLING

SATURDAY, JUNE 12 AT 1:30 PM

Update: Thanks to everyone who joined us for this event, and to Miss Mae for her wonderful stories and songs.

Miss Mae will be in Kensington Playground!  Join us for this free, fun kids event.  Refreshments provided. Bring a chair. 

Miss Mae is part of Arts and Ideas Festival's "Arts on Call

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RENEÉ'S CLOSET, A CLOTHING GIVEAWAY
SATURDAY MAY 22,  10 AM - 1 PM

Update: Thank you to everyone who joins us for this great event.  We gave away lots of clothing, books, and household items -- All free!  Some folks filled a bag, others shopped for a new outfit. Everyone snagged a deal.

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SIDEWALK CHALK ART
SATURDAY, MAY 15, 10 AM

Update: Thank you to everyone who joined us for this fun event!

Drawing and painting with chalk in Kensington Playground! We had a wonderful time using stencils, chalk and spray chalk on the sidewalks of the park.

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KID'S BICYCLE SAFETY CLINIC
SATURDAY 4/17 10 AM


13 kids left with bicycles, helmets, lights, locks, and the skills to ride safety. Friends of Kensington Playground is grateful to all of the sponsors and individuals that made this event possible, including: Bikes for Kids, Chapel West, The Devil's Gear Bike Shop, Kryptonite Bike Locks, New Haven Department of Parks and Recreation, St Martin de Porres Church, and Upon This Rock Ministries, Paul Hammer, and Joel La Chance.

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FOOD PANTRY, EASTER BASKET GIVEAWAY

SATURDAY 4/3 AT 10 AM

UPDATE: We  had a wonderful event in the park.  We met many new neighbor, lots of kids, and saw old friends.
Thanks to all who participated, and to Upon This Rock Ministries for holding the food pantry.

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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.  

Men Volunteering

WHO WE ARE

We meet on Saturday mornings at 10 a.m.

The Friends of Kensington Playground are a group of neighbors working to improve Kensington Playground.

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

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BECOME A MEMBER

Join Our Organization

Submit the form below to join Friends of Kensington Playground. Help us improve Kensington Playground.

Thanks for submitting!

CONTACT THE FRIENDS OF KENSINGTON PLAYGROUND

25 Kensington Street, New Haven CT

Thanks for submitting!

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