Park Sticker Shock!

Holy Frederick Law Olmsted. If you’re like me and live in the ‘burbs come July 1 you’re gonna get soaked for visiting Bridgeport’s jewel park system.

The Park Board has voted to sock it to non-residents for a seasonal pass, from the current $30 to $125. That’s one mighty increase, more than 300 percent.

Okay, I can understand some increase is necessary because of escalating costs to maintain and improve the parks, but isn’t this excessive? Isn’t it better to encourage out-of-towners to visit the city? Shit, what’s next, a commuter tax? Leonard, don’t give them any ideas.

It’s time to do a seance and call up Olmsted, the father of American landscape architecture, who designed Seaside and Beardsley Parks. Freddy was an out-of-towner.

See current and new fees below. No change for city residents.

Current Fees

Bridgeport Resident Sticker $5.

CT Non-Resident Sticker $30.

Day Passes
Seaside – CT Resident $10.

Seaside – Out of State $20.

Beardsley Park – CT Resident $4.

Beardsley Park – Out of State $6.

New Fees Beginning July 1, 2009

Bridgeport Resident Sticker $5.

CT Non-Resident Sticker $125. (Ouch)

Day Passes
Seaside – CT Resident $20.

Seaside – Out of State $40.

Beardsley Park – CT Resident $20.

Beardsley Park – Out of State $25.

It’s Sweetport week. Check out what the Gallery at Black Rock and others are doing:

This week The Gallery will not be open in Black Rock on Friday or Saturday. We will be at the Sweetport Art and Music festival in Downtown Bridgeport. Saturday and Sunday we will be there from 11am to 4pm. Our Gallery will be showing over 10 Artists on the corner of Broad and John street (across from the City Hall Annex).

Some of the Artists on Display will be:

Charlie Walsh
Jessica Bajoros
Michael Raleigh
Peter Konsterlie
Daniel Yagmin
Frank Foster Post
Tony Mazzadra
Shanna Tannika
and more!

There will be lots of affordable work. The day also includes multiple art installations and exhibits as well as a great lineup of music on McLevy Green and it is free!! For more info check out
See you there!

News from Discovery Museum

Fairfield County Community Foundation Funds Scholarships for Exciting Summer Programs at The Discovery Museum

BRIDGEPORT, CT May 27, 2009 Generous funding from The Fairfield County Community Foundation is enabling The Discovery Museum in Bridgeport to offer both full scholarships and greatly reduced fees for its popular summer science programs for children aged 5 to 14 years of age. Six week-long programs for four different age groups begin July 6 and continue throughout the summer.

Programs meet for 4 to 6 hours from Monday through Friday, depending on the child’s age and are packed with experiments and hands-on projects. An extended day option is available for 4 and 5 year olds. In all twenty-one themed programs, guaranteed to intrigue and excite children while demonstrating science and math principles, are orchestrated by the museum’s talented staff.

Museum executive director, Linda Malkin said she cannot overstate the important of the FCCF funding. “The funding is addressing a tremendous need. Educational inequity is a serious problem in the state of CT. Even in prosperous times, the achievement gap between poor and non-poor children is the widest in the nation. To compound the problem studies have shown that low-income children experience greater ‘learning losses’ during summer breaks. Museum staff is very excited and grateful to the FCCF for enabling us to address this problem.”

Scholarships will result in 96% to 50% fee reductions. More information is available by calling The Discovery Museum at (203) 372-3521. Applications can also be downloaded from the museum website

The museum’s unique and often wacky science programs are widely recognized for their rich science and math content as well as their ability to entertain and engage the interest of the enrollees. Education Director Alan Winick says he always asks incoming students if they like science. He acknowledges those who have raised their hands by saying, “Then, you are going to have a great time and learn a lot.” A moment later he addresses the others emphatically, saying, “You are also going to have a great time and have a lot of fun learning about science.” To his knowledge, no child has ever been disappointed. Winick is also confident that the museum science programs spark a lifelong interest in science in children who used to think the subject was boring and/or difficult.
Themes for the 4-5 year old “WonderKids” series include “Something is Bugging Me” (entomology for tykes); Storytelling Gardens (gardening); Sounds All Around; At the Seashore; Things that Fly; and Dinos, Dragons and Other Big Beasts. The Summer Science Showcase for children ages 7-9 consists of Dig It Up! (anthropology, archaeology and paleontology); It’s Alive (for nature lovers); Under the Sea (from shoreline to the deepest depths); Creative Contraptions (engineering); Kids in Space (astronomy); and Mad Scientist Laboratory (Warning: explosions possible!). The Summer Discovery Series for those 8 to 12 in age are Spa Science (producing natural products); Photo Phantastic (Building a room size camera, a pin-hole camera, exploring analog and digital cameras and more); Gemstones, Geology and Jewels (the geology of southern CT); The Science of Art (how they are inter-related, drawing, painting, sculpturing); Discovering My 3-D Space (CAD design); and Awesome Animation (creating one’s own show). Children 10 and older can take part in the Summer Explorer Series with Power Up! (exploring sustainable energy sources); Ocean Explorer (creatures, equipment and a real mini-sub); Robotics (including programming and making your own robotic arm); Discovery CSI (forensics); Don’t Try This at Home! (the coolest, hottest, most explosive activities you can imagine); and Space Explorer (designing rockets and a space suit for an egg, flying a computer simulated space mission in the Challenger Learning Center).

The Fairfield County Community Foundation promotes the growth of community and regional philanthropy to improve the quality of life throughout Fairfield County. Individuals, families, corporations and organizations can establish charitable funds and contribute to existing funds. The Foundation also provides philanthropic advisory services, and develops and leads initiatives to tackle critical community issues. It is in compliance with the Council on Foundations’ national standards for community foundations. The Foundation has awarded over $100 million in grants to nonprofits in Fairfield County and beyond. For more information, visit

The Discovery Museum was founded in 1958 and opened to the public in 1962. It is southern Connecticut’s preeminent non-profit educational resource for science and space education. It is located at 4450 Park Avenue, Bridgeport, CT, one mile south of Merritt Parkway Exit 47, directly across from the Fairchild Wheeler Golf Course. Daily admission to the Discovery Museum is $8.50 for adults and $7 for children over 5, seniors and students with I.D.’s.



  1. The new fees are out of sight. Do we have anyone on any board or commission that has a clue? I would have thought that the idea would have been to encourage people to come to Bridgeport and use our facilities and spend their money here.
    It seem that no one told the park board that studies show that people will be staying closer to home this year and thus looking for things to do that are close to their homes. Somebody please tell this administration that they are doing things ass-backwards. Instead of bringing people to Bridgeport we are doing our best to drive them away. One park commissioner I spoke to told me the rates were going up but he did not know how much. Can you believe that crap?
    We cannot recover with the brand of people we now have in office and serving on boards and commissions. It seems that for the most part they suffer from terminal dumb-ass. That must be a requirement.

  2. TC

    You are absolutely correct. These wholly incompetent people are elected and appointed in perpetuity by the Madison Avenue Political Consortium. The weasel decides who does what and when. He has an established base of loyalists that vote the way they are told. They make up the vast majority of those who get out and vote.

    If the rest of the city would go to the polls and vote these people out we may have a chance. But how do we get more people to the polls? We do it by relying on local media. The Connecticut Post and WICC are terrific platforms to broadcast, impartially, the issues that stand before us. Which, sadly, neither has ever done. What a mess.

  3. What is needed is a grass-roots group of 5 or more people that are willing to walk their districts and to call their friends on election day. If those 5 people ask 5 of their friends to make 5 calls it could become a free robo-call system. You really do not need an army just a few people that give a damn.
    We are trying it here in the 138th and so far the response has been very encouraging. In fact our slogan is “TIME FOR A CHANGE”. We have gotten people who never worked a campaign asking what can I do to help?
    The true results of our efforts will come out in November.

  4. Sounds like the Parks Board should change its name to the Parks Bored!

    Let’s encourage people not to come to Bridgeport.

    Where’s Bill “Frederick Law Olmsted” on this issue?

  5. As an “out-of-towner” thank you for another reason not to go to Bridgeport … Have they raised the tax to use the Ferry to Port Jeff too?

  6. *** Well, if people are serious about the Park fees they need to go to the next Parks Board meeting & voice their opinions! I’ve worked @ the Parks last year & hope to again this year, from Memorial Day to Labor Day. I hope to go to the Park meeting to voice my opinion on some of the prices! $125 would be okay as a seasonal pass for out-of-state cars just for the Memorial to Labor Day season, since they only come on a weekend for the most part & it would be only a temp. 100-day seasonal sticker. The present $30 sticker for CT cars that are registered out of Bpt. could go to $60 (double). Day passes can probably take the $ hike in Seaside; however Beardsley Park has no beach or concession stands, just picnic & softball diamond areas and the Zoo is completely separate. There, $5 for CT residents & $10 for out-of-state cars would have been a bit better for the day-passes increase! Bpt. needing the revenue & keeping up with the Joneses on park passes in general, especially in Fairfield County is one thing but due to the present economy & the fact that Bpt. has always moved to the beat of a different drum, is what makes our Parks especially unique! I hope the Parks & Rec. does not take my personal feelings & opinion on the $ increases personal. I just want what’s best for Bpt.’s Parks & visitors in general, like they do! ***

  7. Re: Max Medina’s stubborn refusal to aid Bridgeport’s budget process.

    Many OIB bloggers remain dedicated to a better Bridgeport. This post is written by one of them.

    While many people understand the dire straits facing The Park City, Mr. Medina has chosen to use the BOE’s stipulated terms to bypass a much-needed giveback and, in the process, place Bridgeport in a precarious position. Never have the children’s needs been compromised.

    What’s good for Bridgeport is good for its school children. Mr. Medina is not working with an anemic budget either. He has wrongfully used school children as human shields to protect his budget.

    The BOE’s budget is static and inflexible thanks to his stewardship. Everyone’s income is shrinking yet he governs over contracts that were written in better times. He hasn’t created a surplus–that’s what team players do–he is just trying to look like a “ballplayer” by setting aside a portion of the generous terms granted by The City.

    Maybe he’s upset by the upcoming zero-gain in the BOE’s budget while not recognizing that other department’s expenditures have been eliminated or reduced. Unspoken in this whole dialogue is the mediocre performance of the entire school system which still produces a ridiculously high dropout rate. So much for meritocracy …

    Mr. Medina, you’re not an advocate for children, you’re an advocate for crayons and notebooks. You have put the teacher’s desires ahead of the children and The City of Bridgeport. Mayor Finch asked for your help and you refused. You remind me of a lifeguard, sitting atop a comfy chair, who refuses to toss a struggling swimmer a life preserver, never mind jumping in to help.

    I hope I’ve made my point.

  8. Local Eyes eyes Medina
    Dateline Trumbull
    Claiming to care about Bridgeport and proclaiming himself to be Mayor Finch’s biggest supporter, suburban blogger Local Eyes has take lifelong Bridgeport resident and BOE President Max Medina to task.
    Local Eyes claims Medina is neither pro-Bridgeport nor pro-school children, while ignoring the fact that all of Medina’s children were educated in Bridgeport Public Schools and all with the exception of one (who went to NYU) have gone on to Harvard for the Bachelor’s Degree.
    “Medina doesn’t know anything about Bridgeport and nuttin’ about Bridgeport Schools,” stated LE. “He cannot accept the fact that the city’s mil rate is a better indicator of how well a child is educated than the QPR’s or SAT’s.”

  9. Grin Reaper:

    You did a poor job of defending Mr. Medina and a great job of misquoting me and exposing yourself as a careless blogger. Your words did not sway me, although you are entitled to your opinion–even if it amounts to nothing more than misplaced vitriol.

    I have carefully re-read my previous post and stand by its conclusions.

    1. *** L/E you’re confusing me, just address Joel as J. Grin & Reap. when you’re blogging to any of his web posts. Thanks! *** Also Mr. Medina, right or wrong has always sided with the BOE when it comes to the Budget in general. Imagine the $ shock he would have if he were ever to become Bpt.s Mayor and seen & heard for himself the amounts of mismanaged money that the BOE spends! *** Forget about it! ***

  10. *** Before I forget, Obama’s pick of Judge Sonia Sotomayor from NY is a great choice towards a better balance & representation in America’s Supreme Halls of Justice. Putting politics aside in general, she will prove to not only be bipartison & more than qualified for the job but able to see and make reasonable decisions that will uphold the laws & constitution of our United States of America. A great example of the American Dream & being all you can be! ***

  11. Hey Tom Kelly, er, Up On Bridgeport,
    Dropped my resume off at that place I told you about. The name-dropping opened a door. Please give Ms. Luanne a call to remind her to peck on Rich’s ear, okay?

  12. The city is trying to make some money. City Hall’s efforts know no bounds. Check out the following amended item from the April 30 edition of the Weekly (R.I.P Black Rock Art Center):

    … After a long legal dispute, the City of Bridgeport is kicking out International Performing Arts, the non-profit that runs [Black Rock Art Center], and selling the building. IPA has been on a month-to-month lease with the city for the former bank building at 2838 Fairfield Avenue. Former Mayor John Fabrizi came close to booting IPA, but a unanimous vote against the action by the City Council caused him to retreat.

    Since then, the process has gone to arbitration, but current Mayor Bill Finch says, “We were not able to reach an agreement.” Finch, who has been selling or looking to sell a number of city properties to meet a $20 million budget deficit, says that a primary reason for the decision was that IPA did make the requested repairs to the aging building.

    IPA Executive Director Joseph Celli, who works as Downtown Coordinator for New London, says the city strangled the center under a load of legal hassles. “They stack all this stuff on top of us and then say, ‘Look they can’t succeed.’ Well, who could succeed under this pressure?”

    He adds, “We’ve put four and a half years, thousands of dollars and lots of spiritual exasperation into this, and our lawyer says [the city] could continue this for another 20 years. What’s the point?”

    The art center, which hosted concerts, exhibits and lessons in a number of arts, is currently closed for winter. A source close to the situation says Celli fired all personnel and stopped making future plans for the center in December. The source also says Celli’s involvement sharply declined since he took the job in New London about a half and a half ago.

    Celli says he “came back for board meetings which is how a lot of boards operate” and he took the job in New London “because it was a good offer and because things actually get done here.”

    He adds, “You’ll see why this happened when you see which insider gets the property.”

    Finch says he has no buyer in mind and no one has approached him. He says the city is selling the property as is. As for prospective owners, Finch says, “I’m expecting someone who can make the requisite repairs and who can pay taxes and bring in jobs.”

    1. I’m wondering which “insiders” Mr. Celli is referring to–Danny Roach, Mr. Celli’s imagined enemy, has expressed only antipathy for the property. And as Mr. Roach no longer owns Black Rock General Store, Mr. Celli has no basis for the bullshit story about Danny Boy’s need for more parking (as if a small neighborhood grocery store needs a lot of parking for customers that stay an average of three minutes).

    2. *** Well, no free summer music concerts @ Wentfield Park, City Hall Annex, McLevy Hall Green, Bpt. Port Jefferson Dock, Washington Park, Newfield Park, IPA building, etc. this year! Or Arts & Crafts in general for visitors young & old in Bpt. for free or a reasonable minimum fee. It’s a shame something couldn’t have been done to work out a fair deal for all, because the overall concept of the arts in Bpt. is a must to help in the overall plans of development for Bpt. *** Seems like for every one step forward Bpt. makes, it ends up taking two steps back! ***

      1. Bridgeport residents have every right to expect and demand honesty and transparency from our elected officials. We also have a right to expect and demand honesty and transparency from those individuals operating nonprofit arts groups. Claiming to offer programs to expand cultural awareness and diversity is a beautiful thing. But when closer inspection reveals said programs to be more than a little half-assed … I for one would like to see the FTC organization take over the former Black Rock Bank & Trust building (the city property Joe “Satan” Celli and his Koolaid-swilling idolatrous followers occupied for six years) and bring some REAL culture to Black Rock, something a touch more sophisticated than belly-dancing classes for housewives looking to spice up a stale married life.

  13. Kid, the City of New London fired Joe Celli some months ago (they learn fast). Celli now works for some group up there called Hygienic Art (they learn slow).
    Remember Bridgeport’s gain is New London’s loss.


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