Hamden gets funding to knock down old middle school

Funding to knock down old school in Hamden
Published: Mar. 23, 2023 at 8:32 PM EDT
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HAMDEN, CT (WFSB) - Many hope that tearing down the town’s old middle school, will play a big part in building back up that section of town.

The old middle school has been empty for roughly 20 years.

Millions in state funding will get the ball rolling on getting these two buildings down.

And those who live here and spend time in this neighborhood, say it’s about time.

Mireille Gaines from New Haven likes to come to Hamden’s Villano park, but it’s the eyesore just across the way.

Gaines said, “just wasting space, let’s use that space.”

Built back in the 1950s on top of an old landfill, the former school and a brownfield for more than 20 years, is not filled with broken windows and covered with graffiti.

Margarita Gordon from Hamden said, “It’s just crumbling, and it kind of like a haunted, spooky space. There is no life to it, and we need to bring more life into this town.”

A 5.4-million-dollar community investment fund grant from the state is a start.

“We’re going to do something to a make sure that this building comes down and the people who live in this community have a neighborhood that they can be proud of, come out and gather and live their lives,” said Sen. Jorge Cabrera.

Hamden will use the money for the initial phase of redeveloping the former middle school site.

The first stage will include demolishing the building and cleaning up the area that’s been a drain on the Newhall Street neighborhood and the town.

“Our police department is here because they’ve had to solve a murder that’s happened in this neighborhood, right here,” said Mayor Lauren Garrett. “Our public works department is here because they’ve had to clean up garbage that’s been dumped here, our fire department is here because they’ve had to put out fires in this building.”

Once the long-abandoned school is down, the town says the next step is deciding what will go there.

There is interest in a community campus, housing an arts and cultural center.

All the new ideas were music to the ears of Mireille and her family.

“Yes, knock it down, we need a lot more resources for our community, so if we can have our children, a place to go, families to go, I’m all for it,” said Gaines. “We need more of that.”

No word yet on when the demolition will take place, but work has already started getting the site and the buildings ready.