NEW HAVEN, CT (WFSB) -- Neighbors in New Haven are pushing back over a plan to turn a local park into apartments.
The Elm City is looking to sell Kensington Park in order to create space for some much-needed affordable housing.
It’s one step closer to becoming a reality, as the proposal headed to the full Board of Alders for a vote.
The city said they’ve been working on this for a couple of years, and that it’s part of plan to transform the Dwight Neighborhood.
However, those who live in the area said it shouldn’t come at the expense of their park.
The friends of Kensington Park have started a petition to save the green space right off Chapel Street.
They said the trees and grass offer some much needed shade, almost like a little oasis in the heart of the city, a place where families and kids can gather.
“You take what little happiness they have, it’s gone now. What little piece they have is gone,” said Phillip Bruton, of New Haven. “It’s going to be an uphill battle, now doubt. That’s for sure, we’ve got a fight on our hands.”
While the city says the park is underutilized, neighbors say one reason could be that the splash pad hasn’t worked in a couple of years.
"Regardless of what people say, every community has its problems with drugs and crimes, but as taxpayers, I’m one of them, that’s why we pay our taxes for the city to come and take care of this and to make sure that its clean and healthy," Bruton said.
Still, New Haven said the neighborhood needs affordable housing.
Under the proposal, the city would sell the park land for $1 to a Boston-based developer, which would build 15 apartments and a parking lot.
The city would then swap other city owned lots, turning them into new parks, with the developer also putting tens of thousands of dollars into renovating the park at Day and Chapel streets, one block away.
For a link to the petition, click here.