Winfield and Looney: New Haven’s Common Ground Wins State Urban Green and Community Garden Grant
Common Ground to restore and enhance public access to approximately 2.5 acres of city park land
New Haven, CT—State Senators Gary Winfield (D-New Haven) and Senate President Martin M. Looney (D-New Haven) have announced that the New Haven Ecology Project—the nonprofit home of Common Ground High School, Urban Farm, and Environmental Education Center—will restore and enhance public access to approximately 2.5 acres of city park land and create a more effective gateway to West Rock Ridge State Park.
“This project will give New Haven residents easier access to the city’s abundance of natural resources,” said Sen. Winfield. “When we expose our community to their natural habitat in a more efficient way and combine that with environmental education, there is a greater sense of appreciation and pride for the city in which we live.”
“Protecting open space and restoring park land in our cities is critical to health and quality of life of our residents,” said Sen. Looney. “Common Ground and the New Haven Ecology Project have a long and successful history of environmental stewardship in the city and their project will help make West Rock Park more accessible to all New Haven residents.”
“Common Ground High School engages young people from throughout the region by providing transformative experiences, challenging them to become leaders in sustainable land use practices and energy consumption, and encouraging students to pursue excellence in all their activities,” said Mayor Toni N. Harp. “This most-welcome state funding will help underwrite projects consistent with another of the school’s primary functions: learning good stewardship of natural resources.”
“Preserving the best of Connecticut’s open space is critical to protecting our land, water, and wildlife and ensuring Connecticut maintains its natural beauty,” said Governor Dannel P. Malloy. “Through these grants, we will increase the availability of open space for our residents to enjoy—whether they live in our state’s beautiful cities, suburbs or rural areas.”
New Haven is one of 17 communities being awarded grants to protect 949 acres of open space. Three other urban communities also received state grants to enhance or develop community gardens or establish a natural habitat for environmental education.
Common Ground will receive $55,000 to create a 1/4 mile handicapped accessible health and environmental exploration trail, making a loop around Common Ground’s market garden, construction of a 20’ x 25’ classroom pavilion, and the restoration of a 1/2 acre wildlife habitat. Model green infrastructure practices will be utilized.
The Urban Green and Community Garden Initiative is available to targeted and/or distressed municipalities. The benefits of this program is not only to open an area up to recreation and environmental education but to improve community health through various actions such as producing various vegetables and fruits and providing much needed green space in more highly developed areas.