Polo Arena Eyed For East Rock Park
by Thomas MacMillan | Jun 26, 2012 8:12 am
Along with the rustle of the wind in the trees and the cries of birds wheeling in the sky, visitors to the summit of East Rock Park may soon hear the thundering of hooves.
The sound of galloping horses would emanate from a $750,000 polo arena that a group of equestrian enthusiasts is looking to install in East Rock Park in an overgrown field once used for archery.
Two members of the group, called the Yale Polo and Equestrian Center (YPEC), pitched the plan Monday night to the East Rock Community Management Team.
The 130-by-280-foot arena would be accompanied by stables with stalls for up to 30 horses, plus a pasture area and likely an apartment for a caretaker of some kind, said Liz Brayboy, vice-president of the YPEC board.
The management team received her pitch with interest and enthusiasm along with concern about odors and manure accumulation. One neighbor who had arrived intending to rant against the plan left raving about it.
The meeting ended with plans to discuss the proposal further and organize a site visit to the archery field.
Despite its name, YPEC is an independent not-for-profit organization, Brayboy said. It formed in 2009 when Yale shut down its stables on Central Avenue in Westville, during a round of budget cuts. YPEC sold some of the horses and moved the remaining ones to Bethany, where the Yale polo team now practices.
Relocating to Bethany has cut YPEC off from the New Haven community with which it once worked closely, Brayboy said.
Anne Gallant (pictured), an East Rocker who helped Brayboy make her pitch to the team, said that for 13 years she ran all sorts of riding programs for young people. She said she would like to start programs like that again, in East Rock. She said she offered classes for kids in long-term foster care, girls from violent homes who were living in safe houses, and autistic adults, among others.
“I really want it to be community-based,” Gallant said. “I saw what it did for the Westville kids.”
Gallant said riding classes fees would be on a sliding scale. “I would love it if no one was turned away.”
The horses would not have free rein to ride around the park. They’d stay in the arena, stables, and pasture, Brayboy said.
“Who’s going to pay for it?” asked one member of the management team.
YPEC will raise money to pay for the project, Brayboy said. She later said the arena would cost about $750,000 and the stables another “couple hundred thousand.”
The arena would have a heavy-duty canvas roof and wooden sides, Brayboy said. She said YPEC has a couple of “Amish builders” lined up.
The Lowdown & Dirty
Several team members asked about manure.
“The amount of manure generated is astronomical,” said Michael Tucker, a parks commissioner and East Rocker. He said his daughter rode horses at the old program on Central Avenue.
“We had it hauled off site,” said Brayboy.
“The manure is a potential source of revenue,” said East Rocker Mike Clinton.
Maybe it could be donated as fertilizer to New Haven Farms, suggested Downtown Alderman Doug Hausladen.
“Is there any way to do an odor plan? I grew up in Kentucky. I can’t wait to have horses in New Haven, but they smell awful,” Hausladen said.
Other people mentioned that they like the smell of horses.
Former East Rock Alderman Dick Lyons (pictured) also pressed for more details about the legal details of the plan, which would install a private entity on public land. Brayboy said those are still being worked out with the city.
Any drawbacks to the plan would be offset by the opportunity “to have this wonderful place in the city to be near horses,” neighbor Clinton said. He said he’d come to the meeting planning to rant against another “land grab” by Yale. But he’d been won over by the promise of equestrian access to city kids.
Brayboy said she’s hoping to see something built in the next year.
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Bringing more active uses to an abandoned site within a public park is generally a great idea.
I don’t know, I guess it sounds like a great idea. First, I would recommend the group ditch “Yale” from their name if they are really not affiliated. Second, I would recommend that the city get a contract that explicitly allows public use of the facility in perpetuity. Yale University has a long history of offering public access to services and facilities, only to snatch them away a few years later (evening parking lots, Yale transit buses, etc.).
Other than that, sounds like a great idea. So long as the smell doesn’t concern the neighbors.
Generally it is a GREAT IDEA.
But how bout something a little less elitest and accessible to the common citizen? How bout they use the Yale Bowl for Polo? Football in the fall, hoofball in the spring….
It seems that all of these organizations are independent non-profits with connections to the Yale Umbrella. This what they are teaching in Management School.
Public space, people, not space for non-profits!
Fortunately the plan affects only the New Haven side of East Rock, I think.
The smell hopefully can’t reach the Hamden side of the Rock, where I live
If the Yalies and East Rockers want it, so be it.
Pleasantly surprised that they are willing to pay for it, but the City, based on past unfulfilled contracts, better get an ironclad agreement before allowing it.
What do you think, Miss Cedar Hill? It likely affects you more than me..
Close Farnam Drive to car traffic.
Forget concerns about horse smells. The traffic tearing through the park, (using Farnam and English Drives as a 40mph short-cut) is the real downer.
Why do we allow park roads to be used as dangerous raceways?
Can the editor please specify where exactly the site is? Thanks
[Ed.: Click here to download a map of East Rock Park. The Archery Field is labeled.]
The site on the map is really on the Hamden side of the property near Davis Street.
Too close—just up the hill from my house.
Keep your Yalie/East Rocker horses in your own neighborhoods, please
Have just alerted Hamden politicos so they can act on our behalves.
Contrary to what I wrote before, Ms Cedar Hill should be OK, I’m apparently one of those in jeopardy
walt to me it is on the hamden side
I kind of like the idea. Kind of. I fear that if we allow this what else will we allow and or who will use this as a step to say but you allowed this. I also am concerned about parking for events and what that will do to the health of the park. Are they renting this?? or are we donating it?
The horse barn was a great asset when it was at the Yale fields in Westville; Anne Gallant is also someone who will follow through on whatever good things she promises. If it can return, even in a slightly different form at another site, it will be a benefit to New Haven.
Having been involved personally with the old facility and the university itself, I feel that it was and still can be a great asset to the community. As to previous comments on polo being elitist, polo has come a long way from what is was and can be made accessible to the common citizen. As for the smell if the stable arena and pastures are kept up properly and manure removed on a regular basis there wouldn’t be much of a smell unless you are living on the stable property itself. I fully support YPEC!
I guess I am funny, but not famous.
I have mixed feelings about this project, and I think Dick Lyons brought up a number of issues that give me pause. This project would insert a significant building into a park that is heavily forested and a good habitat for many animals. The program’s requirements would included a caretaker living on the site, 24/7 access, and lighting.
There is also great potential for this program to provide services to New Haven’s youth. Historically, this program has provided therapy rides and polo for disadvantaged youth.
I am wondering if some of the commenters have actually read the article. Now, it is true that I have at times read the comments before an article, but I always read the article before commenting. The goal of this program, and the desire to move it back to New Haven is to make it accessible to New Haven residents who lack their own motor car—hardly elitist at all. The proposed location is near the Hamden side of the park, indeed, the site is in Hamden. Other than the use of the word “Yale,” Yale has effectively washed their hands of this program. They are not going to build a new polo arena, and I hardly think they want to turn over their football field to horses during the muddy spring. If one were to walk south from the Hamden side parking area for about 200 meters, one would find oneself in an area of scrubs and younger trees. This is the archery range.
What should I like to see best of all? I wish we could have a proper archery range, and that Yale would rebuild its equestrian program at its orgioriginalation. I know it is not going to happen.
I am down with Anderson Scooper’s idea, but this is New Haven.
I think this is a wonderful idea. When I was a student at Wilbur Cross there was a riding club that was allowed access to the polo ponies at no charge to us and I hope future students will have that same opportunity. There are numerous benefits that children get from caring for and interacting with animals and, especially growing up in New Haven, the opportunity to do so is in short supply. Now that I am a parent I wanted my child to learn those same lessons but had to drive him all the way to Wallingford for him to participate. I am lucky to have been able to afford giving him that chance. I would love to see it available to more New Haven families who don’t have the resources to pay for private lessons, travel, etc.
I live on the Hamden side of the park, where the impact would be greatest. No notice of this meeting went out to Hamden residents, though the horse trailers will drive right by my house. I’m not sure if I’m for or against, but I’ve got lots of questions. Will I have any say at all in the process?
This was a first discussion to get feedback from the East Rock community group(pros and cons). More conversations will need to follow with Hamden residents and the cities of both Hamden and New Haven if there is any interest in moving forward. What is the best forum for getting input from the Hamden residents?
Rosas, I have some good news: Liz Brayboy and Anne Gallant were quite clear that they needed to, and wanted to, talk with Hamden residents.
I agree with Anderson that’s by far the biggest problem in this area.
The adjacent Hamden neighborhoods have been made totally unlivable because there is no way to walk or bike downtown without risking your life - nobody in their right mind would want to move to them.
This is far from a secluded and unused area - I walk it every week and based on the trash I see, I’m not the only one using the trail here. It’s smack in the middle of a heavily used park, just off the lower parking lot, and in the middle of an urban setting. I think that Dick Lyons raised some important questions and I think that Hamden residents and the Friends of East Rock group definitely deserve an opportunity to weigh in.
A few more things to consider:
1. Re Smell: on a nice morning at the peaks of East Rock I can smell that rubber-tire-n-trash smell coming from the dump that is all the way over by I-91. You are absolutely going to smell the horses all over the park’s lovely peaks and into Hamden, thanks to the winds.
2. Horse flies. Ever been bitten by one?
I LOVE the idea of this project, especially the opportunities it would give the children of New Haven, and I really hope it can get off the ground. But I think the archery field of East Rock Park is not the right place. I’d be happy to help brainstorm other locations that are accessible to the children this would serve!
Bray - There is no great forum to talk with this neighborhood, which is sort of an orphan. Hamden doesn’t have bodies analogous to the community management teams. When NH has made big changes in the park, such as the Pardee Greenhouse rehab, they’ve sent us letters inviting us to relevant meetings of city commissions and boards.
I have no doubt that building a well-designed and professionally run stables would benefit both East Rock and the surrounding neighborhoods.
It seems clear that Yale don’t want to support or maintain a polo facility on their own property - and although this is probably difficult for those involved in the sport - I think having such a facility off campus offers a unique opportunity for the whole New Haven community to benefit from a wonderful facility near the heart of the city.
Horse-riding is a great sport, but unfortunately it is not open to many people due to cost, and travel time to appropriate stables. I am therefore impressed with YPEC’s promise to offer opportunities for those you would like to participate in the new riding center.
I have seen a couple of public green spaces which have handed lesser used parts of their grounds to stables and/or garden organizations - and I have been impressed with the way these facilities have integrated and been taken up by the community.
The best of luck to all involved.
Rosas - Thanks for the suggestion on getting to the Hamden folks. Would an information session and site walk make sense? The more input the better…particularly before things get too far along.
I think building a well-maintained and professionally-managed stables would benefit East Rock and the surrounding neighborhoods.
It seems clear that Yale themselves do not want a polo facility on their property - and while this is probably difficult for those who are involved with the sport - an independent charitable venture might now be the best opportunity for such a unique facility to benefit the wider community.
Horse-riding is a wonderful hobby, but many people are not able to participate due to cost and travel time to the few available stables. I am impressed with the promise of broadening use of the stables to the community, and think that a well-run riding facility near downtown New Haven would offer a fantastic and unique service to those who wanted to participate.
Best of luck to all involved.
Why would I ever want to reach Downtown by bike or foot or even via my gas-guzzling land barge?
I used to go to Temple Street every 5 years for a colonoscopy, but that is no thrill and as the Doctor now has a suburban location there is no need at all for Downtown as I see it
Go to Cody’s on Water Street for breakfast occasionally and speed through Downtown on the way home, so I can keep up- to- date on new Downtown stuff. and that is enough Downtown for me.
When I first heard about this it sounded like a joke because of the superficial suggestion that public park land would be given over to an “eletist” private use. Now that I’ve heard there will be involvement of New Haven children, and aiming the city gets an ironclad agreement, it sounds like a good idea. Animal husbandry could be a great experience for kids.
PS I like the smell if horse farms. Smells natural.
How were residents near the field notified of this plan. As it is located 150 yards from the intersection of Ridge Rd, and Park Rd, in Hamden, and where the closest residences are, why was no one solicited from that neighborhood about the plans. Or the Davis St. Entry, which is in Hamden, or the lake residences off of the Hartford Turnpike. All of those are the neighborhoods closest to this proposed facility that will be affected by the traffic increases.
Then there is the issue of violating the charter the park is under control of. Very mush like the New Haven Green, there are bylaws and rules of governance that have to be abidededeware of polo players saying they are only trying to help the community, that is nonsense once one appreciates the wealth of the polo crowd.. Who ever has interpreted the laws governing the land that is East Rock as being used for development of any type will open the door for others to then follow that precedent and start to slowy “develop” more of the open space, which was meant to be maintained as a PARK FOR THE RESIDENTS OF NEW HAVEN, not the Polo crowd.
One last thing, the Parks Department has not kept up with the maintenance of East Rock Park for ten years now.Just drive through any of the roadways that are now open (moost have been shut down for years now), Look at the litter, broken guardrails, downed trees, piles of illegally dumped trash.If this proposal is allowed, after ten years of maintaining “their ” area, these individuals can legally lay claim to the land, and win in a court of law. Why is no one speaking about that.
I would be very careful of anyone who comes with any proposal that the claims are all positive. Particularly if there is an agenda to expand the Yale campus at a cost to residents of New Haven, and particularly Hamden.
Bay - Yes, I think an info session would be helpful.
Anonymous - Perhaps I’m not the best judge, but I’d say I’m in my right mind. Our neighborhood has problems, but I bought my house for the great joy of looking out my front windows at East Rock Park and of taking my dogs on long walks there everyday. I wouldn’t call that “unlivable.”
I just went for a walk through the area where the ay bandoned Archery field is located, and read the history of Whitney, Bishop, and Hillhouse as to East Rock, and this is wrong.
These men would be spinning in their graves if they wirnessed this insincere and less than truthful proposal by a group that very much wishes to replicate the elistist gatherings at the Greenwich Polo Club.
Shame on the those that would propose such a project and fail to tell the truth as to the impact of the Hamden homes and residents nearby. Why can this not be placed on the grounds of the Yale Golf Course, which is 80% undeveloped, and has the ability to accomodate a crowd that is similiar in size to events that are conducted there now?
Having been at the meeting, rather than relying on a short article that covers something like twenty minutes or more of dialog, gives me a leg up on understanding the topic at hand.
Walt, pity you do not/cannot enjoy downtown New Haven. I myself will not go downtown when the crazies come out, say after 10 PM, but the area has much to offer: museums, shopping, theatre, restaurants, and concerts. Even-though my house is a mile from the edge of the downtown area, I still enjoying walking there, and then around and about. I much prefer our downtown to any suburban downtown with its strip malls and its constant need to drive to each stop.
Rosas, I totally get why you live where you live. I think anyone who lives on the edge of a great park or preserve is a genius: no need to make a long trip, just step outside and enjoy.
JustAnoutherTaxPayer, I have no idea where you are getting your ideas about elitist plots. Granted, Liz Brayboy and Anne Gallant would fit in to Greenwich, but so would many people in New Haven. Goatville is Cos Cob. Fairhaven and Byrum have similar populations and conditions. Their goal is to make horseback ridding more accessible to disadvantaged kids, not recreate a scene from the movie Pretty Woman.
As I said in an earlier post, Liz Brayboy and Anne Gallant are committed to meeting with Hamden residents. One can also read in other posts, that Ms. Brayboy is in a dialog with Rosas on this issue.
I think this article made quite clear, that Yale has washed their hands of this program, save to allow the use of their name. So how one comes up with the idea that this is Yale taking over more of New Haven I do not know.
The reason for an agreement—including language of duration in years—is to protect both parties. Liz Brayboy and Anne Gallant should like 20 years or more, but the first ten would not grant them in perpetuity.
I should prefer a different location, but this is the only one the city is offering, and Yale is not offering any.
Nothing against Downtown
Just that there is nothing there that interests me. that is not available,safer and more convenient in the suburbs.
Bars—No interest really.If I want a couple of brews I can take a quick hop to the nearby Irish pub on Whitney Ave in Hamden
Would like to try Anna Liffey’s one of these days, but do not consider that really Downtown.
Concerts—The music offered in New Haven is for younger folk and different ethnicities than would fit me, No interest but I do like the suburban summer concerts
Shopping—Mostly junk in New Haven. My wife does most of the shopping and finds it more productive and safer to visit the malls and Hamden food stores. I’m at Lowe’s in New Haven frequently, which is better than Home Depot.
Museums—You’ve got me there but I have visited them many times through the years and am unlikely to do so again
That you like Downtown is fine. I see no benefit and do see potential problems in my going there in comparison to the suburbs
I am thrilled to hear about the prospect of reviving a horseback riding program that provides access for ALL of New Haven’s youth. People who say that polo is a sport for people of the upper classes are correct. If the Yale polo folks want a program for community youth they need to show us the plan for making that happen. Otherwise all I see are some Yale polo folks tokenizing Ms. Gallant and New Haven youth to accomplish their goal of opening a polo facility in New Haven. The community piece should not be an add-on. Rather, it needs to be the focus. Polo should be the add-on.
I used to volunteer at the old Yale barn. I worked with the polo ponies and with Ms. Gallant’s program Leg Up, for a number of years as a teen. Please note that Leg Up was NOT a polo program. Ms. Gallant and volunteers taught riding lessons and horse management. She received no support from Yale to run Leg Up and, in fact, she paid to use the Yale facility to run the program. This left her struggling for annual funding. I DO NOT want to see this happen again. If this new wave of Yale-affiliated polo folks wants to collaborate with Ms. Gallant then they need to build a TRULY community-based program that focuses on youth.
While at the barn I witnessed the stark contrast between the polo folks and the Leg Up youth. Polo folks were/are from the very upper classes while the youth participating in Leg Up were typically from poor/working classes. While some polo folks were cordial to the Leg Up youth, I also vividly recall hearing negative comments about the youth and their backgrounds. If these programs are to exist in the same facility we must ensure that the new Yale polo folks are dedicated to the welfare and empowerment of the youth in very concrete ways.
I also listened to youth who told me their personal accounts of how Leg Up positively impacted their lives. It caused me to look at my own life and the privileges I was afforded—including access to horses. In this way Ms. Gallant’s program had/has the potential to positively impact people from a broad range of backgrounds. Personally, I don’t care where in New Haven we have an accessible community riding program, I just want it to happen.
This is a great project! I believe that this development will positively impact the neighboring community by bringing new activity to the East Rock Park area. This project proves YPEC’s commitment to reach out to both students and members of the New Haven community from a variety of backgrounds. Thanks to everyone involved in the project for their efforts!
A comment was made in reference to attending the “meeting” where these ideas were promoted. I would have love to attend, BUT, none of the over 200 residents of Hamden, which this field is close to, were notified, or solicited.
It is nice playing to a home field crowd, translating to Yale affiliated individuals who live along the Whitney Av corridor, in the East Rock Neighborhood of New Haven. It is a wonderful idea to help children that have been born victims of institutionalized economic unbalance in America, but I suggest someone attempt to place this in Bishop woods. That is closer to Ms Gallant’s residence, and Cross High School, so the children who may be helped by this are able to cross the street to work with the horses.
Now if this was just a horse stable committed to social programs which are so fervently thrown out as the premise of this propasal I would be arguing in favor of it.But it’s not, It’s Polo! Please stop placing yourselves on some “holier than thou” pedastal using the disenfranchised to defend your passion for polo.
The East Rock Community Management meeting was a good first discussion. Are there Hamden neighborhood meetings that would be good for a presentation and feedback as well?
I’m Anne Gallant and I want to clarify that I’m not part of YPEC; rather, YPEC and I are in preliminary discussions about collaborating. My dream is to help bring an urban riding program to New Haven similar to Hartford’s Ebony Horsewomen (which is in a public park, by the way). To those of you who are either philosophically opposed to polo or who have reservations about using the archery field as presented at the Monday night meeting, let me ask you: if we were to have an urban riding program unaffiliated with YPEC, we would need 4 to 5 acres within city limits for 6 to 8 horses. Do you support this and, if so, do you have any ideas about where we might locate it?
Sheesh, what if… why not… who will… great to see so many comments, but manure and parking create this much worry? In a city that offers so little to their youth. East Rock is a little used gem and this is a good idea that should be embraced with open arms.
Walt, I guess it is “different strokes for different folks.” If you like the Playwright in Hamden, I think you will like Anne Liffey’s (The Playwright in New Haven is too big, I opine. If Ireland has a building that big, they are using it as an aircraft hanger.). The concerts I was thinking of were the ones put on by Yale. For me, downtown is anything south of Howe and Trumbull, to the train tracks and 34.
DR.RC, I found your post to be very helpful. Thank you. When a cousin from Oregon, who is a few years older than me, went to Harvard, he would bring his Harvard and Yale friends to my parents house. What a bunch of snotty jerks. Fortunately, when his brother and two of his sisters went to Yale, the friends they brought to visit were right decent and personable.
JustAnoutherTaxPayer, let me be clear; I do NOT love polo. I have never played, never watched a game, and have no desire to. I have an Infantryman’s distrust of horses. When I think of horses, I think of glue and shoes. However, I am able to recognise the value that therapeutic riding can have, just as I can recognise the potential of a polo program made accessible to disadvantaged youth. My point about attending this meeting is that there is content and nuisance a twenty minute discussion that a brief article cannot capture—no matter how well written.
I have read most of the contrary, and promotional comments. The ones that bring into the discussion the wonderful character and intentions of those promoting the idea, and I wonder how many have spent some time on the Hamden side of ER.
If anyone has the time, please do so. First, start at the intersection of Hartford Turnpike and Davis St. Watch the motor vehicle traffic. The unusual volume of speeding autos, and most importantly the large number of speeding fully loaded dump trucks and trailer trucks.
From there, go to the opposite side, to the intersection of Ridge Rd. and Park Rd. Sadly you will find the same condition. Watch for the children walking on the nearby sidewalks, or in some locations in the street where there are no sidewalks.Then go to the entry to the park, the intersection of Davis St., and Farnaham Dr. try to come from Ridge Rd. so that you can fully experience trying to take a left turn, that is fully blind, onto a road that is the width of two cart paths.
Then go into the only entrance to the summit of the park. Yes, sadly fear of violent crime has led to closing of all roads that are within the park going to the summit on the New Haven side. So all those that go to the summit have to come to the Hamden side.
You will see lots of traffic. Loads of people who use the park. And you may understand the danger of the truck traffic to children. And that is the entry that will be used to for polo. With the Trucks and trailers that carry 4 ponies each.
Moving to the promotion of this, in this forum and WTNH, At a meeting of a management team that behaves as if there is only one side to the park, the New Haven side.
So place this now proposed program in Bishop Woods, next to Cross HS.For sure you will help far more children than one could ever imagine.
One other point the constant refernce to one’s efforts for helping the less fortunate members of New Haven to sell this is tiring. There are thousands of individuals in New Haven that have given their entire lives, and every waking hour to helping these kids, without using it to plant a polo club in someone else’s neighborhood.You all should be ashamed.
Anne - I do have questions I want answered, about the impact on wildlife in the park and about what this means for traffic on an already too busy Davis St. But I would certainly be willing to put up with a reasonable level of inconvenience (construction noise, traffic, etc.) for a program that would ultimately help kids in need. I’m not willing to do the that to accommodate Yale’s polo teams.
Thanks Rosas. For a purely urban riding program—no polo—we could use 6 horses and 4 acres. How awesome would it be to convert an abandoned site into a green, sustainable animal husbandry program for New Haven and Hamden kids, similar to what New Haven Farms is doing? What do you think of that, Mr. Taxpayer?
Reminds me of the old Shubert deals
Then it was Bitsie , Cheever and the elitist “AHTS” groups.
Give us a start by subsidizing the Shubert renovations they said, as I recall, and we will soon have a magnificent Theatre operating in the black, and no further subsidies will be needed
We’ll give culture, pleasure and free tickets to the kids in the inner - City said they , as an enticement.
It was done, and ,as you know, the Shubert never operated in the black and, although I do not have the numbers, my observance is that there were not a heck of a lot of inner-City kids hanging out there either,
Now, we have Anne, Liz and the elitist horsefolk saying—- give us a nice big parcel of Park land over on the Hamden side of East Rock, so we will not, in our elitist neighborhood, suffer the smells the project will generate, and we will build a (non-taxable?) magnificent horse arena, stables,, and a home for our manager and(?) will operate the facility at no cost to New Haven taxpayers as, among other money, we will have lots of manure to sell
We’ll throw in free polo training and horse -riding for inner-City kids of course, so they will enjoy the same elitist polo bouts as our own children
Wont cost New Haven a dime, just free land,they say. Seems they are already selling “manure”.
Sound familiar?—-or am I just a skeptic again?
I would like to thank everyone who engaged in “commenting” on this article, “Polo Arena Eyed for East Rock Park”. And I want to apologize for disturbing anyone by the tone of any of my posting that were felt to be insulting or hurtful. Being provocative seems to bring out the best in many that would remain quiet.
Since this began I am grateful that their are people that want this to be purely a program for children from the inner city, autistic children, combat veterans, and anyone who can find peace of mind being around the horses.
I have been “around” horses for the last 46 years of my life. Recently, over the last two years I have visited four different farms or stables that are already using their horses to help troubled children and veterans. They are fantastic and they work. Speaking for myself, as I do not know how all the other residents around the “Hamden Side” of the park would react, I would welcome such a stable, and would be volunteering myself, just to be around the horses, and people who are deserving of such programs.
As to Polo, well after seeing the breakdowns on the field, that may have been my hidden agenda. I do not want the sounds of horses screaming when the bones in their legs shatter only being used in the puirsuit of a “sport” that has become something far removed from it’s origins. First there is the “pop” of the shattered bone, then the thud as the horse and rider crash to the ground,hopefully no other horses are nearby to fall on them, or worse step on them. Then the sounds of a horse in distress, which although horrible, silence is worse; that would mean either the rider or horse could be expired.
No I do not want that near my home, and I do not want that in East Rock Park.
Just to be clear…the proposal does not call for an outdoor playing field. Not that many of the comments won’t still be concerns for folks, but if there is a way to communicate to the Hamden neighbors, please share that.
First, It troubles me that no one from the meeting has addressed the comments about the way Ms. Gallant and New Haven youth are being used to further a Yale agenda. Comments from those who appear to be from that group only seem to be concerned with their own progress (i.e. meeting with Hamden folks—which of course is also important).
Second, for those interested in learning about the therapeutic benefits of horse-human interactions and equine assisted therapies (particularly for youth), I have quite a bit of information, both first-hand and research. More than happy to share.
DR.RC - To provide a little background… The proposal for the arena and stables are coming from a group that is completely separate from Yale, although the Yale students do participate in the polo lessons and program. There is also a high school program for students from all over the area and it does not receive any funding from Yale. When the stables at Yale were closed, a group of alumni and friends was formed to help keep it going. We approached Anne Gallant about a potential partnership since we had seen her work at the Armory and knew she brought both talent and access to participants that YPEC didn’t have. If it works out for her to enter into that partnership (which is not final at this point), we would each bring something to the success of the program. The polo program would raise the funds to build, maintain and manage the facilities and she, or another partner, would bring community based programming. We have also talked with other therapeutic riding and community based riding groups as an alternative and realize this is a key part of the success and value of the proposal. My personal preference is to work with Anne because I know her and trust her, but realize there are many factors at play, including the interests of all of the neighbors.
Bay, are you saying that the Yale polo teams and clubs won’t be based at this facility?
“The arena would have a heavy-duty canvas roof and wooden sides, Brayboy said. She said YPEC has a couple of “Amish builders” lined up.”
Amish Builders??? Lots of folks in the commercial construction industry who might want to learn what “Amish Builders” means.
Rosas - The polo program would operate out of this facility.
Woodbridge Watch - That was actually a mis-quote. We have pricing from a variety of sources, including an Amish group (for the stables only). Until we know more about we will end up, nothing has been finalized.
Sorry, but am I the only one here who noticed that this polo ground that the East Rockers want to build is actually physically located within Hamden and is only 300 feet from homes in Hamden?
If East Rock is excited about building a polo ground and selling manure and providing opportunities for New Haven kids, why not put the polo ground in East Rock instead of putting it in the backyards of people in another town who won’t be able to use the facilities but will nevertheless have to put up with the summer stench and the added traffic.
Let’s not kid ourselves here - horse stables reek. Especially in the summer, which is why you don’t put them right next to residential neighborhoods. That’s why the people who know better are so happy to slap the “East Rock” label on it while putting it in Hamden.
New Haven NIMBYism at its finest. Give me a break.
Have you ever noticed that 100% of the East Rock Park that you enjoy is paid for and maintained by the taxpayers of New Haven?
Yes, that may be, but the approach roads in Hamden are maintained by Hamden taxpayers, and the only approach to the parking area is through Hamden.
And more to the point - you’re still talking about deciding to put a polo ground - a big building, a field, a 24 hour-a-day residence, and a hell of a lot of manure - within 300 feet of a residential neighborhood. And you seem to have made this decision without ever seeking any input or permission from them even though the site isn’t even within the borders of your town!
If you want to volunteer to have a polo ground in your backyard, robn, that’s fine. But don’t volunteer other people for it and then pat yourself on the back for how much you’re doing ‘for the kids.’
If the people saying that the smell and traffic are no big deal were willing to live next to the thing, that would be different. But that’s not what’s happening here. There’s been no outreach. No conversations. Nothing.
Totally NIMBY. Use other people’s money to build stuff you don’t want to live near in other people’s backyards.
It’s also more than a little shameful that the reporter for this piece keeps saying that this will be a park “in East Rock” and quoting these elite East Rockers about how wonderful it will be to have this thing in their neighborhood.
Except it’s not in their neighborhood. It’s in Hamden in someone else’s neighborhood. Look at the map. And it’s right near a museum!
Do you guys really think you can just spend $750,000 to build a manure factory in someone else’s town without ever getting permission or giving them notice?
In all seriousness, because this site is physically located in Hamden, you would need to go through planning authorities in Hamden to build here.
It is zoned as T-1. Natural use with buildings that only have limited public use and/or utilities. The code bans everything that would be going on here.
East Rockers can do whatever they like in the neighborhood of East Rock, but you can’t just build a private residence, a large set of public buildings, and a stable and grooming facility in the middle of a park located in someone else’s town.
So I would advise you that, contrary to what robn says, this park isn’t simply yours to do with as you like wherever you like. I’d bet that the charter under which Hamden allowed New Haven to share policing rights in the park didn’t sign away all of Hamden’s rights to determine what could and couldn’t be done there.
This isn’t what was contemplated by those statutes. And I can guarantee you guys that the project will be stopped in court if you just barrel ahead.
I live on the Hamden side and would like to start a group to fight this proposal. I will chech back to see if there is interest. Any Attorney who would like to offer their service pro-bono? We need to stop this. Let New Haven keep it on their side of the Rock. I will also be contacting Mayor Jackson. Many years ago Hamden gave up their rights to the Park to New Haven, we need to find out what was included in this agreement.
Folks, can we discuss this without attacking anybody’s character or making this a New Haven vs. Hamden fight?
What we need is an open forum where people in the neighborhood can get more info. Let’s reserve judgment until we get all our questions answered. I’m sorry that I can’t suggest a great avenue to do that, as we don’t have a neighborhood body.
I’d suggest asking the City of New Haven for the mailing list they use to inform residents about work in the park. Ask one of the area churches or libraries for space, and have a meeting.
Maybe your mayor can build a tall wall between Hamden roads and East Rock park to protect your private property and olfactory interests.
Not a bad idea. Will use the Woodin Street fence as a pattern for the barrier That one has worked for 50 years , I think
Are you sure the location is in Hamden? Maps I have seen appear to show the border is on or near Davis Street.
Does either the Hamden or New Haven Building Code allow for a permanent building without a solid, not canvas, roof?
I’d absolutely love it if an equestrian facility were built on the New Haven side of the rock. And just to show you that were not mean people over here, I’m pretty sure that underprivileged kids could also get access to the programs.
My zoning map includes the section of the park in question. It may be that Hamden made an arrangement with the city on maintenance or policing, but the land is still within Hamden. Nothing would change that - it’s in the 1786 charter.
As robn reminds us, the city has a long habit of building things it doesn’t really want to deal with by putting them at the furthest possible point from its own neighborhoods and then leaving everyone else to deal with the problem. The fence on Woodin addresses a longstanding and very serious criminal problem that the NH city government and police never took seriously. Just because Bass and others pretend it never existed doesn’t erase a spree of burglaries, break ins, vandalism, and assaults.
Now we’ve got a similar situation. They want a polo ground but don’t want it stinking up their lovely neighborhood, so they’ll put it in someone else’s neighborhood and then be offended when people don’t like it.
We all know that Hamden residents will never get to use this facility if it gets built. They’ll just get to hear it, smell it, and dodge the trucks and cars it will bring to their neighborhoods.
Yale’s alumni magazine blog is already treating this like it’s a done deal. So much for good faith outreach to the people who’d be living next door.
3/4 of East Rock is actually located in Hamden. What about parking? The current parking at East Rock cannot possibly accomodate this type of activity. Where will people park?
By building this structure and a probable parking lot what will happen with water run-off? Will it erode trails, pollute the mill river further, displace wildlife. Many animals have come back to the Rock, deer, coyotes, groundhogs, hawks etc… I’m sure there are abandoned lots all over New Haven where such a facility can be built and have easier access for the inner-city youths it aims to help. What about the Dwight, Hill or Newhall neighborhoods? Most of the disadvantaged youths live in these areas and they will have easier access to the facility if built here. Maybe the YALE Polo team are too Elitist to build in these areas?
I’m not indifferent to your anxiety that nearby residents weren’t engaged; however, this presentation was given at a regularly scheduled east rock community meeting. If your neighborhood has such meetings then the presenters showed a lack of diplomacy by not scheduling One with you. If you don’t have community meetings well then? Maybe still a bit undiplomatic, but the presenters probably needed to start somewhere.
The main reason why I’m pulling your leg is that I’ve spent my life in colonial New England and the idea of a horse farm being a nuisance just does not compute.
So many understandably vehement, yet misguided comments. Being I was not only at the meeting but quoted in the article about it let me clear up some of the misunderstanding.
More than one of us brought up many of the questions and concerns as so many commenters here did, one of the biggest was the fact that although we appreciated the fact that they brought this to us, we also wondered (and asked aloud) why the residents of Hamden had not been engaged first. The portrayal of East Rockers as a group as elitist was a low blow, blame it on incomplete reportage of the event that no mention of these discussions were made in the article.
We were very skeptical of many of the claims that were made about the center, again, many of which never made it into the article. We were also critical of the nature of the project its impact on the community and the benefits as well as the determents. There was more than one of us who questioned the environmental impact of the project as well as the impact on the neighborhood. Whether there would be lighting and lodging for a full time custodian? Who would be responsible for maintenance, security etc.
The organization that would be building the center is, at minimum, loosely associated with Yale, yes they would hold polo matches in which Yale would participate, but they are not as much a part of the university as the name would suggest.
The requests for input from the organization were genuine, and although they were targeted to the wrong group, both parties walked away with a better understanding of what the other expected and wished for. We closed with many more questions than we had answers, and one of those questions was “well what do the residents closest to the proposal think?”
People should not throw stones based on a report that barely scratched the surface of what was discussed, I’d suggest contacting one of the alders listed and ask for more information than hurling charges of elitism and rallying against something that could, in fact, be a good thing simply because it seems like something else.
Many of the people in that room had no allegiance and were highly critical of Yale for past misdeeds. We in east rock are no monolithic group and it is simplistic and rather insulting