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In Recognition Of Williams Park

A New London site quietly proves the potential of the city's parks

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.

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Joyce Pearson August 26, 2012 at 05:51 PM
I think it's a wonderful accomplishment getting New London 's parks in shape. Parks are great places to meet with friends, bring children to play, relax and learn a little history too. However, New London has many parks that are not identied by any signs. Toby May has a sign identifying the name but there is a small park on Vauxhall and Park sts that has no sign identifying it. The park on Willetts ave in NL has no sign identifying its name. We need to get some signs up even if is the size of a street sign so visitors can determine the name of the park they are enjoying. Thanks
Doc Halliday August 27, 2012 at 11:30 AM
As a child I played in all these parks without a care in the world. Myself and Fred DeCosta were the best of friends. I hope Fred is still around and in good health. THANK YOU New London for great memories and for taking care of OUR parks.
Debbie August 27, 2012 at 01:00 PM
African/Latin Drum circle every Tuesday at 5:30pm, bring your drum and join us.

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