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12/10/2018 - Mayor Ganim, Trust for Public Land to Cut Ribbon on Newly Revitalized East End Park and Playground

Mayor Joseph P. Ganim
Bridgeport, CT

For Immediate Release 
December 10, 2018

For More Information:
Dalmarys Matos (203) 576-7201

Press Release

Mayor Ganim, Trust for Public Land to Cut Ribbon on Newly Revitalized East End Park and Playground
Community Members and Students Design Johnson Oak Park Play Space

Bridgeport, CT – Mayor Ganim will join The Trust for Public Land (TPL), students from Jettie S. Tisdale School and the East End Neighborhood Revitalization Zone (NRZ) on Tuesday, December 11, 2018 at 10:30AM to cut the ribbon on the newly revitalized East End Park and Playground at Johnson Oak Park and Tisdale School Grounds, 250 Hollister Ave, Bridgeport, CT 06607. To the joy of local residents, Johnson Oak Park and the adjacent grounds of Jettie S. Tisdale School will re-open after a complete restoration by the City of Bridgeport and The TPL, in partnership with the East End NRZ. Originally envisioned by the East End NRZ, the new design for the long-underutilized park space takes into consideration input from East End residents and Tisdale students.

“Parks are essential and often spur community investment and economic improvement,” said Mayor Ganim. “More than 3,500 people live within a 10-minute walk of Johnson Oak Park, and hundreds of students use the park and playground each day. These revitalized parks improve the quality of life for everyone living in the East End neighborhood providing environmental, recreational and health benefits for children and residents.”

Community meetings to plan for the refurbished park space began in 2014, with students contributing their ideas through a playground-design curriculum at school. Student designers wanted to be sure the play spaces would be accessible to the 30 percent of the school’s students who have special needs. Teachers requested a walking track and tree canopy near the play area. Neighbors asked for a safe, welcoming space where they could gather for family parties and events or just relax outdoors. The TPL is a national leader in participatory design workshops like these and has completed over 400 projects in over a dozen cities.

TPL Connecticut State Director Walker Holmes said, “We believe that everyone should have a quality park within a 10-minute walk of home. We’re so pleased to have worked with the City, the East End community, and these wonderful students to give them the park they so urgently deserve.”

Park features include a field, basketball court, running track, outdoor student gathering area and performance stage, splash pad, pavilion, comfort station and green-infrastructure elements that will capture storm water and improve neighborhood air quality. The City of Bridgeport led the construction and secured various grant and capital funding toward the effort.

Jettie S. Tisdale School Principal Dr. Charmaine Worthy said, “These new play spaces will make a huge difference to the health and wellbeing of our students. The space was designed for students by students. Our special needs students will enjoy access to the outdoor nature classroom, which includes a stream bed and a rain garden. As a Turnaround Arts School, we now have an outdoor stage to have performances. Our basketball and track teams finally have a place to practice.”

President of the East End NRZ Keith Williams said, “A great neighborhood needs a great park, and soon Johnson Oak Park will be just that for the East End. The neighborhood group that advocates for better investments in the East End and first envisioned the park restoration. “Everyone here is looking forward to the contributions that this new park will make to our sense of community.”

The $1.6 million project was made possible by major funding from the City of Bridgeport; Aetna Foundation; Avangrid Foundation; U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Community Development Block Grant.; Connecticut DEEP: Open Space and Community Gardens; Fairfield County’s Community Foundation; Federal Land and Water Conservation Fund: Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership Program; Helen and William Mazer Foundation; National Endowment for the Arts; National Fish and Wildlife Foundation; Prudential Foundation; Anne S. Richardson Fund; Trust for Public Land Community Impact Fund; and supporters like you.