On a splendid sunlit riverine Sunday afternoon 8-year-old pals Dazaria Henderson and Radames and Julian Figueroa were at the tippety-top of new playground equipment that is drawing more and more kids to the revived Dover Beach Park on upper Front Street.
The park, which in the fall received two new playgrounds and a splendid new sea wall, got its annual clean up Sunday afternoon courtesy of 60 student athletes from area colleges including Southern Connecticut State University and the the University of New Haven.
The volunteers were coordinated for the third consecutive year by Southern’s Associate Athletic Director Michael Kobylanski in his capacity as co-chair of the Greater New Haven Chamber of Commerce’s sports council steering committee.
Bret Bissell, who along with his wife Pat helped instigate the beachfront park’s revival, showed off the new sea wall. After a suspension of work in June for the shellfish spawning season, the sea wall was recently completed.
The result of the several efforts: “We’re getting a lot more and more people down here,” said Bissell. That includes not only kids using the two playgrounds, but fishermen and kayakers, who now can put in at the nifty steps.
“Five years ago this place was desolate,” he said.
Not a couple to rest on laurels or any of the other trees, bushes, butterfly garden or other plantings they’ve brought to the park, Pat Bissell displayed the the strokes used by the Southern and UNH athletes in chopping down the invasives along the new park fence south of the playgrounds.
She already has her eye on a new project: replacing the section of falling-down fence that runs from Peck to Lombard.
While the city recently chopped back the powerful invasive species that had overwhelmed the fence undermining its stability and completely blocking the view of the river, eventual replacement is necessary. That’s what Pat Bissell conveyed to the mayor at a recent mayor’s night in.
She said he wrote her that the city will “look into it.”
One reporter’s guess: A year from now there will be a fine new fence in place in time for the 2013 Dover Beach clean-up.