I usually tell people I live in the Post Hill district, although that’s not quite accurate. Even though I apparently wouldn’t be able to join the Post Hill neighborhood association (yes, I’ve sent the flyers for this), I still live a short distance from . I think this particular place deserves some recognition, because it’s managed to be everything a park should be.
In the midst of last year’s tense , Williams Park was going through a quiet renovation. Workers aren’t quite done, but they’ve made some noticeable progress. New benches line the pathways, and an informational sign outlines the park’s history with a little help from . The sign also points out the significance of the Nathan Hale statue and a few war memorials, including one to New London’s oldest surviving Civil War veteran.
Even more heartening was the fact that the renovations clearly weren’t going unused. One day, I was walking through the park as bench components lay along the paths, a worker steadily putting them together. Not far away, on a bench that couldn’t have been more than a few minutes old, a woman was already sitting down.
Williams Park isn’t very large, but it is beautifully designed and has enough open space for a number of activities. A popular neighborhood festival takes place there annually. A drum group has played outside the statue on Tuesday evenings during the summer. On one occasion, I saw a man flying a remote controlled plane; on another, two visitors playing chess on a bench. Once school starts you’ll see the classes walking over to the park for recess.
The nearby is a good source for visitors. Plenty of people are finding the appeal of taking their cup of joe to a park bench hard to resist. Last weekend, I joined in this traffic by getting a frozen coffee, claiming a bench, and settling in to read a book. It was a beautiful sunny day, and a group of kids rode bikes in figure eights around the grounds.
The number of takeout restaurants in the area is also no doubt a boon to the park. The park’s listing here has only one review, but it’s from a woman who enjoyed a meal from in the park with her husband one day after work. “It’s an ideal spot for a weeknight picnic,” she concludes.
It seems that there has been a resurgent effort to make the most of New London’s green space. Last year’s ballot question has spurred more events and conservation efforts in . The main area of was recently redone, and is in the planning stages to spruce up its playing fields. The colleges extend an open welcome for people to visit the and . has no shortage of things to do during the year.
And as New London moves forward with improving its parks, one need only look to Williams Park to realize the potential for success.