Tour Brings Berlin Wall Tensions To Fore
by Thomas MacMillan | Aug 14, 2012 8:30 am
Hamden neighbors drove the long way around a contentious border fence to arrive at New Haven’s rebuilt Brookside housing complex —to clamor for the fence to stay up.
The occasion Monday afternoon was a blunt, on-site face-to-face between New Haven public-housing people and Hamden neighbors who spend their days mere steps—yet worlds—away from each other.
The subject: the fence that divides their borders, offering Hamdenites on one side the perception of safety, New Haveners on the other side a feeling of having their lives blocked out by a local version of the Berlin Wall.
About three dozen Hamdenites showed for the meeting at 295 Wilmot Rd., a community building that’s part of the New Haven housing authority-run Brookside, which is nearing the completion of a massive redevelopment.
As the colorful rebuilding of the housing development nears completion, the authority invited Hamden Mayor Scott Jackson, Hamden City Council members, and neighbors to tour the progress and talk about the plans for the area.
Of particular importance to the Hamdeners was the fate of the decades-old fence that separates their town from New Haven. The reinforced chain link fence—built by Hamden—has for years divided the town from Brookside and the housing authority’s other projects nearby, Rockview and Ribicoff Cottages.
One New Haven participant accused the Hamdenites of being stuck in “the mentality of yesteryear” and making New Haveners like her feel like “rodents.
A Hamden neighbor, meanwhile, accused New Haven of shoveling “dirt” at the crowd and trying to “change our community.”
The fence, which closed off Wilmot Road, has meant isolation and inconvenience for people living in the housing projects. They have had to sometimes travel miles out of their way using public transportation to reach Hamden grocery stores or workplaces that would otherwise be easily accessible. New Haveners have begun talking about suing Hamden if it won’t remove the fence.
For some neighbors on the Hamden side of the fence, the barrier has meant protection from the threat of crime coming from over the border.
Monday’s meeting turned out to be a heated and contentious affair, as some of those Hamdeners spoke out strongly against taking down the fence. They cited concerns about crime and increased traffic.
Jimmy MIller, deputy director of New Haven’s housing authority, told them the authority would eventually like to remove the fence at three points, to connect the housing projects with Hamden.
The plan for two of those points, near the Ribicoff Cottages, is years away, part of a future redevelopment of that housing complex.
First, however, the authority would like to take down the fence at Wilmot Road, connecting it to Hamden’s Woodin Road as part of the completion of the Brookside redevelopment.
Doing that would require approvals from Hamden’s zoning board, traffic commission, and legislative council, said Mayor Jackson. He declined to say whether he thinks the fence should come down.
Hamden Police Chief Thomas Wydra was less circumspect about voicing his opinion on the fence: “I’ve always hated it,” he declared. He said unequivocally that he thinks it’s time to remove the wall.
Chief: Tear Down That Wall
“My hope is that we can connect these neighborhoods,” Wydra (pictured touring Brookside) said as people filtered in to a meeting room for the 4:30 p.m. convening. “Tall fences and walls are a symbol of what is wrong.”
The fence never reduced crime, Wydra said. He recalled working on Hamden’s narc squad in the ‘90s and doing undercover drug buys near the fence from people who came through the fence into Hamden. “Did the fence eliminate that crime? No,” he said. The wall didn’t stop crooks from coming into town, he said; it only made it easier for them to hide and “conceal their movements” from the cops.
Mayor Jackson arrived, tieless and wearing a Spider-Man watch. Although he declined to state officially his position on the fence, his comments indicated that he’s not a huge fan of it.
Historically, the housing projects—with the fence—represented “maybe the best example of the effect of the concentration of poverty,” Jackson said. “One way in, one way out, and two big bad developments locked in there.”
“What the housing authority is attempting to do here is to demonstrate to the people of Hamden that the page has turned,” Jackson said. “I’m here to listen.”
As he walked out to waiting vans to take a tour of the new Brookside, Mike Colaiacovo Sr., who lives on Woodin Road, sought proof that the housing projects are not going to be a source of robberies, break-ins, and kids throwing bottles, as they have been in the past, he said. “Show us first.”
“I Still Want Some Separation”
Housing authority staff showed the Hamdeners the brightly painted new houses in the new Brookside.
“What is this? You’re selling real estate to us?” grumbled a woman in a polka-dot dress as the tour entered a new home.
“Yes, this is for sale,” announced Miller, hoisting himself up onto a new stone counter top. He said the housing authority made sure that the homes abutting Hamden are all “homeownership units” rather than low-income rentals.
Years ago, the fence was broken and “we had nothing but trouble,” said a Hamden man who declined to give his name. He said “kids” would come over to his neighborhood and break into people’s houses. “It a constantly a gun battle over here.”
“Anywhere you have low-income housing, you have more crime,” said Robert Parson, who lives in Hamden and works at Yale-New Haven Hospital. When the fence went up, all the crime stopped, he said.
Outside on the sidewalk, Peter Wood, vice-president for the Michaels Organization, which will own and manage the new projects, sought to convince Parson that the new developments will be different. They won’t concentrate poor people, he said. It will be a mixed-income neighborhood with homeowners who have a stake in the safety and upkeep of their property, he said. Even in the rentals, the architecture is designed to create a sense of ownership, with individual patios and porches, he said.
“It’s not barracks-style housing anymore,” Wood said.
Wood wasn’t convinced. He said he used to live in New Haven and moved to Hamden to have some “peace.”
“I still want some separation,” he said.
“You Can’t Ban People”
Back at 295 Wilmot Rd, attendees tucked into ziti and chicken parmesan as a discussion got under way.
Taking down the fence is “something we don’t intend to force down anyone’s throat,” housing authority Director Karen DuBois-Walton said. All the proposed new connections to Hamden would have to be approved by the town, she said.
Only the first—Wilmot Road—is being proposed right now, Miller said. But eventually the authority would like to put three in, he said. That prompted a ripple of murmurs.
Miller said the new tenants at Brookside will all be subject to “very rigorous and thorough” criminal background checks.
The whole make-up of the community will be different, said DuBois-Walton. “What used to be here was all public housing,” she said. “It was the poorest of the poor who were living here.” The new development will be a mixed-income community with people who get up and go to work everyday, she said.
The meeting proceeded in fits and starts, featuring frequent interruptions and outbursts of objection.
A Hamden woman named Janet Mills interrupted New Haven Police Chief Dean Esserman as he was speaking about his experience overseeing policing in Brookside and Rockview 20 years ago.
“Isolate. One way in. One way out. And good luck,” he said, describing the projects back then. “It was an American failure.”
“People need to be living amongst one another,” Esserman said. “You can’t ban people.”
That’s when Mills interrupted, objecting that Hamdeners are not looking to ban people. “You want to change the way our community is,” she said. “Don’t bring up that other stuff. That’s dirt, I don’t want to hear it. ... Don’t make it seem like there’s an animosity.”
“My experience is that I don’t like isolation,” Esserman said. Both sides could benefit from removal of the fence, he said. “I know that what was here didn’t work. This is a much more thoughtful project with ingredients for real success.”
The housing authority has seen a “dramatic” difference in crime after redeveloping other projects in town, DuBois-Walton said.
A number of people brought up concerns about traffic, including Jack Kennelly, Hamden’s previous chief of police. He predicted the completed housing project would generate daily traffic of between 600 and 800 cars.
Miller (pictured) said an independent traffic study found that only about 12 percent of residents are likely to have cars.
“Gimme a break,” Kennelly muttered.
“No one can ever predict the future,” Mills said.
Dave, a Hamdener who declined to give his last name, said traffic on Woodin Street is already a problem, with a steep hill that “cars come down sideways” in the winter.” He objected to a sidewalk the housing authority planned to put in there.
“We thought that was an amenity people might like,” DuBois-Walton said.
Mike Montefusco said he wasn’t buying the independent traffic study. If so few people are going to have cars, why do they need three more roads? he asked.
And if there’s not going to be a problem with crime, why do we need the buffer of homeowner units between the projects and Hamden? he asked. “There’s only so many times you can contradict yourself before I stop listening” he said.
The meeting closed with plans to hold another, in Hamden on Aug. 29.
Colaiacovo said he was still unconvinced that the fence should come down: “If it doesn’t work, we’re screwed. We can never go back. All these guys’ll be gone in five years. When the shit hits the fan we’ll still be here.”
“The people of Hamden need to understand the importance of the fence being taken down, said Honda Smith, a New Havener who sits on the West Rock Implementation Committee, a group of neighbors who have helped shape the redevelopment plans. “We’re living on Gilligan’s Island here”—isolated with no way out.
A senior citizen in the projects who needs to get her medicine has to take an all-day field trip by bus when there’s a Walgreen’s nearby in Hamden and inaccessible, she said.
The Hamden neighbors are stuck in “the mentality of yesteryear,” she said. “They want to live that suburban life. They think people over here are rodents. That’s how they made me feel. Like a rodent.”
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I’m not a Hamden resident,I’m a New Haven resident but i totally understand what the Hamden residents are saying, eventually the new Brookside will be just like Monterey Place on dixwell avenue"CRIME and SHOOTINGS! It always sounds good in the beginning but always end up with crime, alot of the time they move the same people back into these new developments. I don’t think I’ll ever be interested in purchasing any of these new developments in new haven for this reason! #TEAMFENCE
Why are they pressing to force people in this neighborhood to also take down fences at the back of their yards? I don’t see why homeowners should have to open up their yards to people who openly admit they want to trespass through their property and near their homes.
The crime issue isn’t solved at all. Disappointing presentation - especially when you realize that the other two developments are still a mess, still very high in crime, and that the background checks are going to mean that we have the same problems there now. Lots of felons moving in to live with their relatives with nothing to do.
If this was in Wooster Square or East Rock, the Independent would be on the other side of this issue. But thanks for your coverage - dismissing the crime issue over and over again in favor of calling Hamden residents racists has done wonders to undermine HANH’s outreach effort.
I want Paul Bass to walk through these projects at night and tell us how safe he feels.
“offering Hamdenites on one side the perception of safety,”
Its not a perception if crime went down after the fence went up is it NHI?
@sammy, their not calling Hamden residents racist,if you see the yale employee is a black male who i work with but in agreement new haven CAN’T make these people remove this fence!
When and where, on August 29th in Hamden, is the next meeting? There were too many concerns that were not addressed by this meeting.
Also, New Haven should put an ad on the front page of the register with the location and time of the next meeting. So many people from Hamden who will be affected by this did not know about this first meeting. It’s their town and they have a right to defend it.
posted by: Jones Gore on August 14, 2012 11:26am
Sammy no ones back yards faces the street. There is an actual street there. Pay attention.
Are these fences in any way legal? Aren’t things like roadways governed by the SCRCOG?
I was under the impression that abandoning roads would have to get permission from the body.
And while the fence may make people safe, I’m kind of thinking that wirecutters make short work of it, and people who want to cause trouble will simply do that….
“The whole make-up of the community [is] different, said DuBois-Walton. “What used to be here was all public housing,” she said.”
Demographics do change. Ironically, many of the “low income people” that the Hamden residents refer to are living in Hamden now. Perhaps New Haven should build a wall to keep them out.
“A senior citizen in the projects who needs to get her medicine has to take an all-day field trip by bus when there’s a Walgreen’s nearby in Hamden and inaccessible, she said.”
“Brookside Ave” to Walgreens at 1191 Dixwell is 2.6 mi along current roads (map). Assuming one could go directly to Woodin St., distance would be approximately 1.4 mi. What exactly is the benefit to this particular person?
@anonymous,and there complaining about that also, the crime on 1st street, the recent killing in front of the convenience store on dixwell/hamden location
Fences in people’s yards, assuming they are to zoning height restrictions (or if higher have the blessing of zoning approval) cannot be touched by law. The fencing on public property, if on Hamden’s property, and if fitting in their zoning rules and regulations should be legal too. I would imagine a lawsuit would end up going all the way to the highest court.
I understand the Hamden Residents’ concerns. Its a housing project! They aren’t exactly the safest places in this city, historically.
Why on earth did the City of New Haven invest in building these things in no-mans land? This entire site should have been bull-dozed and put on the market as lots to the highest bidder. Putting low-income people in an area that they cannot access basic necessities is just cruel and is probably another reason why the area became so dangerous to start with. Nothing to do, nowhere to go, etc….
The City of New Haven should be just as embarrassed for locating these places where they are as the City of Hamden’s reaction to the projects.
posted by: Jonathan Hopkins on August 14, 2012 2:53pm
Wooster Square has two public housing projects - Farnam Court and Winslow-Celentano - in addition to several low-to-moderate-income housing co-ops including Columbus Mall and Friendship Houses. There are no fences blocking off residents of subsidized housing from public streets in Wooster Square as is the case with the Hamden fence.
“Jack Kennelly, Hamden’s previous chief of police [...] predicted the completed housing project would generate daily traffic of between 600 and 800 cars.”
When this development is complete, there will be 433 housing units added to the existing 100 elderly/disabled units at Ribicoff Cottages and 150 family units at Westville Manor. Very few elderly, disabled, low-income or young people own cars. For those few with cars, many will continue using Springside and Wintergreen Avenues to commute. Where are these 600-800 new cars coming into Hamden going to be coming from? Is every single household now going to own more than one car and every car is going to use Woodin Street? Since when is a former police chief a legitimate source for traffic estimates?
When you don’t have regular access to a car, distance matters - even a couple of miles - especially if the shortest route is half the distance of the next shortest route. Also keep in mind that the Woodin Street trip has sidewalks, houses lining the street and trees. The Fitch Street trip is largely desolate, partially lacking sidewalks, lined by Hamden’s trash dump, a cemetary, and parking facilities for SCSU with few shade trees.
Right now, this is the process for shopping at Walmart on a Saturday if you live in West Rock without a car:
-leave your house around 11:00am
-catch the 11:13am B bus on Brookside Avenue
-arrive at the Green around 11:40am
-catch the 11:48 D bus at the Green
-arrive at Walmart around 12:30pm
-catch the 1:48pm D bus back to Green after shopping
-arrive at the Green around 2:30pm
-catch the 2:40pm B bus at the Green
-arrive at Brookside Avenue around 3:10pm
If you have to take a bathroom or refreshment/meal break during the trip and you miss one of these buses, it is an additional 40-minute wait for the B bus and 15-minute wait for the D-bus. Add on more time if the shopping excursion includes multiple stores at multiple locations. A simple shopping trip can take anywhere from 4 to 8 hours.
@WESTVILLADVOCATE, there’s always been housing in this area PROJECTS BEFORE ROCKVIEW AND BROOKSIDE, City of New Haven just redeveloped them but put alot of the same people back in there which will bring crime back in these areas, i know a person personally who lived in brookside(project) and now lives in the redesigned brookside and she also complained about the trash already over flowing, so lets see in a couple of years whats gonna happen.
What the City should’ve done was created these homes for young adults,families with not so great to excellent credit with a job history of working over 5yrs(work stability) who would appreciate these properties.
Jonathan, thanks for responding. Can you show how that trip changes if the fence is down?
posted by: Jonathan Hopkins on August 14, 2012 4:28pm
Nearly the entire area north of the 9 squares was part of the old commons, which was publicly owned land not sold off in colonial times.
Over the years, pieces were sold here and there for farms, development, or preservation. Beaver Hills, for instance, was originally part of the old common, then it became a 100-acre farm, then in the 1850s it was bought for use as a private rural park, then it was developed as a streetcar suburb beginning in 1900. A large part of the old commons is preserved in West Rock Park and Beaver Ponds Park. The rest of the land was largely sold off and developed with neighborhoods by World War 2, with the exception of West Rock, which was pretty much the only remaining area of the city’s old common that was still publicly owned, undevelopment and not a park.
In the early-to-mid 20th Century in the United States, there was a massive housing shortage particularly for returning GI’s. To remedy this problem the Federal government passed the Housing Act of 1934, the GI Bill of 1944, among other programs which provided funding for public housing, emergency housing, and suburbs.
Elm Haven, Farnam Court and Quinnipiac Terrace were New Haven’s first public housing projects created under the Housing Act of 1934 and built in the early 1940s. These projects involved government seizure of private property, demolition of said property and construction of new buildings. This process is expensive, time consuming and top-down.
For the next round of public housing that went up in the late 40s and early 50s, public officials chose rural sites that had seen little to no development and would therefore require minimal eminent domain seizures. These projects include McConaughy Terrace in West Hills from 1948, and Rockview Circle and Brookside both from 1951. Oriental Gardens - a housing co-op - was built in 1970, but was demolished and replaced by Westville Manor, which is public housing. Ribicoff Cottages also came later as elderly housing.
It is much easier and cheaper to locate publicly-owned buildings on publicly-owned and/or undeveloped land than it is to seize or purchase private property, demolish existing buildings and rebuilt anew.
West Rock was able to be demolished thanks to the Hope VI federal program, which provides federal money to housing authorities for the specific purpose of demolishing “failed” housing projects and replacing them with mixed-income neighborhoods.
This is sad and sorry.
Reminds me of the Warsaw Ghetto among other things.
Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!
“Something there is that doesn’t love a wall.”
(And good fences don’t make good neighbors.)
They state all working class and no one on public assistance back ground checks etc. Already there are people who live there right now that are indeed on public assistance and has been for years. Moved out of one project to this new greatly improved project. it is indeed just that a PROJECT!!!!! Define project? I wonder where Chief Wydra lives North street? I doubt that. All those roads over 1,000 to 3,000 residence now open to that small community of home owners music bombing, horns blowing all times of the day and night no there will be no peace. I can see that happening I will definitely put up for sale signs and get out. Wait and see Get it all occupied and see what happens.
posted by: Jonathan Hopkins on August 14, 2012 7:46pm
Removal of the fence would allow residents of West Rock to be within walking and biking distance of goods and services located on Dixwell Avenue in Hamden including the Walgreens and the D bus line. For the few people with cars, it will give them easier access to destinations to the North and West.
With the fence open, a resident could walk from their house at 11:00am on a Saturday and make it to the D bus stop at Dixwell and Putnam for the 11:32am stop and get to Walmart at 11:45am, which is 45 minutes sooner than having to go all the way Downtown to transfer. The fence unnecessarily adds between one and two hours to a simple trip to the Hamden shopping plaza.
Removal of the fence also opens the possibility of expanded CT Transit Service to connect West Rock to Dixwell Avenue, which could potentially make a trip to Walmart take only 30 minutes each way of travel, rather than the 3 hours minimum roundtrip that it currently takes.
Disconnect again you don’t seem to realize who would want their neighborhood turned into a cut through, I live in new haven and my street is cut through from Whalley to Dixwell. All kinds of people all times of the day and night dropping trash as they cut through. cursing totally disrespecting my neighborhood and the $5,873.00 a year I pay in taxes to live here. I brought this home so that I didn’t have to fight to get in my front door Bever Hill area we have Bowen Field, Hillhouse high Which makes my street a cut through. NOT GOOD!!!
I lived in Rockview guess what I went to elementary, middle school in Cheshire CT. Project Choice how long was that bus ride. Common Ground High on Wintergreen Ave has students traveling as far as Waterbury, go figure. Also they have public my Ride for elderly that need to pickup grocery, medication as quoted earlier from Walgreens just a phone call away.
@LADYC5303 i agree with ALL your comments, its evident that these other “ccommentators don’t lived in these areas or visited these areas,my grandmother lived in rockview from the time they where first built,so i have some knowledge. These places ALWAYS turn right back into a project look at monterey place(dixwell avenue), like you said we’ll see in a couple of years sooner than later! #TEAMFENCE
alot of people are commenting on transportation for the elderly,federally funding to “re-new” previous housing(projects)so disconnected from the truth,so obvious you have no clue,so obvious you sit behind a desk or maybe work for the city of new haven but the reality is if that fence is token down its gonna be a problem for hamden residents, the reality is these new redevelopment always re-house the same tenants from before their considered first priority , like i said before the “new” housing development should be housed with “real” working class people with over 5yrs of stable work history that’ll take pride in their property!
I tend to think that this fence was a stupid idea in the first place.
That said, it was a stupid idea in response to a real problem. New Haven made the choice to warehouse some of its poorest and most disadvantaged citizens in a rural area that (with or without the fence) is almost inaccessible to the rest of the city. In so doing, the city both guaranteed that the neighborhood in question would be marginal at best, and ensured that any response to crime in that neighborhood would be hampered by the distance from the city center. More over, the city did so at the same time it was tearing down a substantial portion of the housing stock to build a highway to nowhere.
I find it unsurprising that Hamden would view this as shifting the burden of some of New Haven’s neediest citizens (given that the residents of these projects would be closer to services and commerce in Hamden than they are in New Haven) and respond by suggeesting in no uncertain terms (a fence) that those residents turn to New Haven for needs.
If New Haven would like to see that fence come down, then they should first demonstrate that this housing project will not represent a burden on Hamden through adequate policing and a rigorous vetting process.
I will take the words of the Hamden homeowners ANY day over some Public Housing Bureaucrat. #TEAMFENCE
Here’s a thought experiment the NIMBY Independent should do…
replace “Hamden neighborhood” with “bike path” and see if people think that putting a fence next to a high-crime housing project is the equivalent of the “Berlin Wall.”
As far as I can tell, the only people calling it the Berlin Wall are the staff of the Independent. Maybe next time you pretend to do reporting about this you can run down those perceived crime stats and be a little less credulous of the HANH’s claims. It seems to me that there’s no change here at all - a boatload of taxpayer money was spent to build new places that are going to the same problematic unemployable people who caused trouble there the first fifteen times this was tried.
It was the perfect spot for a polo ground.
And I still haven’t seen an explanation for why people want the entire fence removed - even the portions behind private property.
Everyone I know who read this article comes away more determined to keep the fence in place until there’s a demonstrated change. The last story you did where you guys basically called everyone living on Woodin Street racist was a big hit with a few black families living there, too.
Since 2005, Hamden has had at least 7 murders, not to mention hundreds of street robberies and aggravated assaults. Also, several of the men killed in New Haven last year were Hamden residents. Perhaps New Haven needs to start erecting fences to keep Hamden residents out.
There have been murders in the Amity neighborhood (also near West Rock Park, but on the Woodbridge side, nowhere near this fence) and in Beaver Hills, but I don’t believe that there has been a single murder in West Rock since at least 2005.
Can someone correct me if I’m wrong. I haven’t followed the news on the latest shootings. I know there was another murder in Amity recently, near the Woodbridge line. But none in West Rock.
posted by: Jonathan Hopkins on August 16, 2012 3:07pm
I have friends that either grew up or currently live in Westville Manor. My elementary school bus route went to West Rock including up the cul de sac of Rockview Circle. I don’t see how this makes any of my points more or less relevant because I don’t think that anyone denies that West Rock was a crime-plagued area and that HANH was essentially a slum lord that misappropriated funding in the 1990s. Over the last 20 years, crime has plummeted, HANH has been reorganized in response to a Federal audit, and public housing has become more diversified and less concentrated.
I’m also surprised to hear that you think Monterey Place is an example of a failed housing project. Can you document any pattern of serious crimes that have originated from Monterey Place - as opposed to originating from the surrounding neighborhood? Monterey Place has a very strict vetting process for prospective residents, so when problems do occur it is usually from the surrounding Dixwell neighborhood, which suffers from a large amount of slum lords - a problem that doesn’t exist in West Rock or Pine Rock.
Letting some or even most of the people return to West Rock who used to live there isn’t necessarily a problem because the vast majority of public housing residents are law-abiding citizens who get terrorized by a few bad apples and from outsiders coming into their development to sell and buy drugs. If public housing ONLY accepted applications from people who are steadily employed, then that would be missing the point of public housing entirely. It’s like saying MediCare should only be made available to people who are young and healthy. Having said that, West Rock will include owner-occupied houses and market rate units in addition to subsidized rental units in an attempt to diversify the development instead of concentrating poor people.
Every neighborhood is a cut-through for someone. Newhallville is cut-through for people traveling from Beaver Hills to East Rock. Fair Haven is a cut-through for people traveling from Wooster Square to East Haven, etc.
Assuming that the fence complies with Hamden’s zoning ordinance, private property owners can decide to keep the sections of fence that are on their property if they want to. The fence only needs to be removed on the sections that block the public right-of-way (sidewalks and roads).
@Jonathan Hopkins: I’m assuming this is you THE NEW HAVEN INDEPENDANT DID AN ARTICLE ON, “The New Haven of 2010 looks a lot different from the New Haven Hopkins grew up in. It’s even different from the New Haven he left in 2007 to begin attending Roger Williams University, where he majors in architecture.”
Anyway you’ve been away for awhile and yes there was a murder in Monterey Place, i knew is father very well did you? You can do your statistics and figures all you want but
the problem is still there when old tenants are returned SORRY, these new developments are beautiful, if you had anything to do with the building or architect kudos to you! but it is what it is!
posted by: Jonathan Hopkins on August 16, 2012 5:11pm
I assume you’re talking about the November 2006 murder of Robert Bennet on Ashmun Street? Correct me if I’m wrong but wasn’t it someone from outside the complex that came in and committed the crime? The resident of Monterey Place public housing unit was the victim, not the perpetrator.
While I do go to school out of state, I still spend about 5 months out of the year in New Haven where my parents live. I also had nothing to do with the design of either Monterey Place or West Rock.
Again, just because previous tenants are returning doesn’t necessarily the same problems will return. The vast majority of residents were victims of a small population of bad apples, many of whom came from outside the project to partake in illegal activity. The same management problems that plaqued HANH in the 1990s seem to be behind us, which will mean that the new development will be better maintained, better supervised and more diverse.
There were legitimate concerns about West Rock in the late 80s and early 90s - there was an absurd about of crime and HANH was a corrupt and negligent organization - but HANH has been completely reorganized and public housing has been immensley improved in the city. I think that Hamden has a much weaker argument today than they did in the 80s or 90s.
West Rock doesn’t want access to Pine Rock. Pine Rock doesn’t have any services or goods - it has one school and a bunch of private residences. West Rock wants access to Dixwell Avenue where there are services, goods and transit access to major employment and shopping centers.
it doesn’t matter if the person who committed the crime is from outside or not its that fact the the elements living there(projects) brings this type of violence into these neighborhoods PERIOD!If you’ve never lived in these neighborhoods then you really can’t comment on what its like living in these neighborhoods or how many people work or not! I can i grew up in West Hills, grandmother lived in rockview, aunts in the Brookside and Westville Manor! All of them moved out and would not return at ALL!
“There were legitimate concerns about West Rock in the late 80s and early 90s - there was an absurd about of crime and HANH was a corrupt and negligent organization”
What is preventing this issues from returning? These projects need to first prove that they have changed (for the better) and prove that they can maintain a responsible society for several years before the fence is considered removable.
Also, there is a town meeting in Hamden August 29th to discuss the “new” brookside project problem but the papers will not print any details as to the time or location for fear that all of Hamden and several supportive towns will show up in favor of keeping the fence.
Jonathan Mayor Cory Booker of Newark, N.J. 1998 to 2006 he temporarily moved into the Brick Towers, one of the worst complexes in that city. He had it demolished. When are you moving into Brooksside?
In my comment I was speaking of walking cut through traffic not driving. I am all for getting a license, purchasing a car, home so you are a viable part of society. Living the American dream!
projects are a BAD idea.
Beaver Hills is a working class neighborhood blacks, white, Indian etc. Musicians, Librarians, etc. All religions we have Muslims, Jewish, Christians and Catholics; but then someone decided to rent their home. OH YEAH you can tell the home owners from the renters. Mop on the front porch, Grill on the front lawn music bopping when their outside company pull up, dogs tied to trees barking all day and night. NO PEACE, no respect for you or anyone else. No I don’t support RAP TRAP it makes people complacent. In this life you have to fight, thrive and stop settling for nothing. This generation coming up now, they call them generation X. Look in the eyes of the some youth, you see no life.
I teach mine that nothing easy is worth it!!!! you get thrown a curve ball take a bat and knock it out the park!!!
As I said earlier I grew up in Rockview but my kids have NEVER lived in low income housing. I will NEVER go back. My mom worked for DCF in the 70’s we were then taught to study work hard if one door close go to the next.
Traveled on a long bus ride to school in Cheshire were I was the only black in my class.
Give incentives for those low income residence to become home owners. Most apartments now are converted into Condo’s anyway let’s try that.