From city Communications Director Brett Broesder:
Today, Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch joined elected officials, community leaders, students, and others in thanking the U.S. Department of Interior for a $375,000 grant to build a new Johnson Oak Park adjacent to Jettie Tisdale Elementary School.
The City of Bridgeport, East End Neighborhood Revitalization Zone (NRZ), Trust for Public Land, and private partners will transform a 4-acre project area comprising Johnson Oak Park and the grounds of the Jettie S. Tisdale School in the East End neighborhood of the city.
“This is great news for Bridgeport, the East End and the kids at Jettie Tisdale School,” said Mayor Finch. “In Bridgeport, we’re focused on making our city a place where companies want to invest and hire people, and a place where even more people choose to live, work, and raise their families. Parks play a key role in doing just that. In addition to these improvements at Johnson Oak Park, we’ve also re-opened Pleasure Beach, built a new Knowlton Park, and are continuing to enhance places like Seaside Park. We’re improving the quality of life for our residents while increasing property values in our neighborhoods. Thank you to Senators Blumenthal and Murphy, and Congressman Himes for their efforts in bringing these funds to Bridgeport.”
Click here for photos from today’s event: bit.ly/1ObsSAW
Click here for the Johnson Oak Park Master Plan: bit.ly/1G3EpZl
The project will address issues of physical safety, criminal activity, and other recreation needs. The grant will support the first phase of planned enhancements including a picnic grove, spray pad, playground equipment, a fitness zone exercise area, and playing fields.
“The Park City has once again earned its name, securing one of only eight competitive grants awarded nationally to improve and enhance public parks in underserved neighborhoods,” said U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal. “This $375,000 grant will transform Johnson Oak Park and the Jettie S. Tisdale School, using students’ and community members’ own dreams and visions to create a haven for healthy, outdoor fun. Congratulations to Mayor Finch, East End residents, the Trust for Public Land, the Fairfield County Community Foundation, and most of all the Tisdale students whose civic leadership and imagination will transform the neighborhood for generations to come.”
The news today comes from Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and Director of the National Park Service Jonathan B. Jarvis today who announced $3 million to assist eight cities in constructing and enhancing parks and other outdoor recreation facilities in disadvantaged neighborhoods.
“Today’s announcement is a huge win for the families of Bridgeport,” said Murphy. “Thanks to years of hard work by Mayor Finch, this grant will transform an important corner of the city. Again and again, I hear from Bridgeport parents and kids that there aren’t enough after school and weekend options for kids. This grant will create new outdoor recreation space that can be enjoyed by thousands of Bridgeport families, thereby reducing crime and increasing quality of life. The Land and Water Conservation Fund doesn’t just protect big wide open spaces, it has helped to set aside thousands of acres of parkland in America’s cities too. This grant is another reason that we need to continue to fully support funding for LWCF in this year’s budget.”
The Johnson Oak Park funds are part of a new competitive grant program called the Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership, which are funded through the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). For more than 50 years, the Land and Water Conservation Fund has invested revenue from federal offshore oil and gas royalties into more than 40,000 outdoor recreation facilities and conservation projects in every state.
“I am pleased to congratulate the City of Bridgeport and its private partners on receiving this competitive grant funding to transform outdoor space in the East End,” said U.S. Congressman Jim Himes. “The improved Johnson Oak Park will have adult and youth recreation areas, exercise equipment and a picnic grove, among other things. As we celebrate Earth Day tomorrow, I couldn’t think of a better time to applaud this newest addition to the Park City.”
Projects benefiting from the grant program range from the renovation of an athletic complex in Detroit, Michigan to construction of a new skate park in Madison, Wisconsin.
For more information on the Johnson Oak Park project, click here: www.tpl.org/our-work/parks-for-people/johnson-oak-park.
In October 2014, Fairfield University released a study that stated residential properties located within one tenth of a mile from a park in Bridgeport have, on average, an 8 percent higher property value than residential properties located within the next tenth from a park. Commercial properties show an even greater gain in property value within the first tenth of a mile from a park, showing an 11 percent increase compared to properties in the second tenth of a mile from a park. Click here to read more about the study: bit.ly/1ObuIBP.