Remember that Virginia Avenue lot on the Upper East Side where former Governor Jodi Rell wanted to locate a juvenile detention center for girls four years ago? Then State Rep. Chris Caruso led the charge against it, including a candlelight vigil to derail the jail. Many other city officials followed Caruso’s lead, including Mayor Bill Finch, arguing the jail was not a fit for the neighborhood. Sanity prevailed. The mayor is hosting a community meeting tonight (Tuesday) to share plans and seek input on a new park proposal.
News release from Finch:
Mayor Bill Finch will host a community meeting at Thomas Hooker School (138 Roger Williams Road) on Tuesday evening at 6 p.m. to discuss plans for a new neighborhood park located at 115 Virginia Avenue in the Nob Hill neighborhood. The community meeting will give residents an opportunity to share their ideas regarding the design, planning and programming of this new neighborhood park.
In 2009, the State planned on opening a girls’ treatment and detention center on this site. Residents of the Nob Hill neighborhood, Mayor Finch, City Council members and the Bridgeport Legislative Delegation protested the State’s proposal, and in 2010 then-Governor Jodi M. Rell withdrew the plan to build the detention center in Bridgeport. The City purchased the site of the new park from the State for $1.
As a part of the City’s Parks Master Plan, initiated by Mayor Finch, to open parks within 15 minutes walking distance of every resident, the City has begun planning a new park on this site.
“The residents of Nob Hill fought very hard to keep a jail out of their neighborhood. Instead of a correctional facility, the neighborhood is getting a beautiful new park,” said Mayor Finch. “I urge everyone in the neighborhood to come to our community meeting Tuesday evening and let us know what you’d like to see in your new park. While Beardsley Park is very close to Nob Hill, it is more of a destination park than a neighborhood park. This new park will serve the people of the neighborhood.”