The Parks and Recreation Commission has supported the transfer of a playscape on Cedar Grove Ave. to Riverside Park, but both supporters and opponents of the idea expressed concerns with their proposed placement of the equipment.
Robert Nenna Sr., chair of the commission, said in a Feb. 20 letter to the City Council that the commission “fully supports” the idea of relocating the playscape at Veterans Field to the park. Nenna said the group recommended placing the playscape on a flat area near the Adelaide Street entrance.
The playscape is at the site of temporary classrooms set up on Cedar Grove Ave. The idea of transferring the equipment has won both support and criticism, with supporters saying the placement of a playscape in Riverside Park is overdue since the removal of aging equipment there. Others say the playscape is identical to one located nearby on Crystal Ave. and that the city shouldn’t allocate funds to a transfer until the completion of a master plan for development of the park.
New London Landmarks has been hosting several forums and events on this topic. Last month, University of Connecticut landscape architect Peter Miniutti made initial recommendations for improvements at the park. These included transitioning the Adelaide Street entrance into a pedestrian entrance and establishing an auto entrance farther down the road, eliminating some roads in the park to increase the amount of green space, renovating bathrooms, and pruning trees to improve views of the Thames River.
Miniutti said he would not recommend placing the playscape in the more wooded areas of the park, where he said adventure playgrounds would be more fitting, but that he would not be opposed to incorporating the playscape into another area of the park. Miniutti also said the city should determine whether the transfer would be the best use of funds in park improvements.
Wayne Vendetto said he supported the transfer, but thought that the playscape should be placed in the park’s interior rather than on the edge. Dr. David Hayes also said the playscape should be located within the park.
“It doesn’t make any sense to put it down by the entrance,” he said.
Councilor Anthony Nolan—chair of the Education, Parks and Recreation Committee—said he plans to call a meeting of his committee March 11 to make a recommendation on the issue.
Council President Pro Tempore Wade Hyslop said the Council should act on the issue without delay.
“As long as we continue to draw this out, it’s going to continue to get lost along the way,” said Hyslop.