Residents, Community Organization Get Assurances From Parks Superintendent
August 4, 2007
By NIRAJ CHOKSHI, Courant Staff Writer
The only thing between Beverly Rozetta and a new roof is a handful of intruding boughs from untrimmed trees in adjacent Keney Park.
But the encroaching limbs that hang over Rozetta's Love Lane house are not the only problems North End residents have with a portion of the 694-acre, city-owned park.
On Friday, city officials met with Rozetta, a neighbor and representatives from a community organization to address complaints that the park was being neglected.
Residents' complaints about out-of-control trees and underbrush were repeatedly ignored, according to a letter drafted by a local chapter of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, which works for social justice.
The older trees, the letter read, threaten houses during storms. The underbrush creates breeding grounds for rodents, can be a fire hazard and encourages illegal dumping.
On Thursday, the city mowed grass that had grown 3 feet high in the small patch of the park near Rozetta's home.
"To get that cut was like pulling teeth," she said.
At the meeting, Rozetta asked Parks Superintendent John Timm to sign the letter, which had three demands: that the trees near the homes of residents be trimmed by Aug. 10, that garbage and bulk trash be removed along several streets, and that the city clear out the overgrowth along the borders of the park within a month.
Soon after the meeting at Rozetta's home, five men in neon vests filed out of a city van to clean up roadside trash, which included at least two full bags of garbage.
Overall, Rozetta said she was happy with the meeting, but she will keep a watchful eye over the park to make sure it doesn't return to the condition it was in before Thursday.
"I will be keeping on top of it myself," she said.
Marisa Lindsey, Hartford's ACORN organizer, called the meeting a success.
"The people that we wanted to show up showed up, and they are working with us," she said.
"That's what we wanted. ... There's deadlines for things, which is good."
Rozetta first contacted the city on July 9. She called again on July 25, and then spoke to Lindsey on July 28.
Lindsey e-mailed the director of the department of public works on Tuesday, and he sent Assistant Director John McGrane and Timm to the Friday meeting.
Timm could not commit to the deadlines, but he assured the group that he would work with his staff to either meet the deadlines or set new ones. He assured the group that he would do his best to maintain the park.
"I don't give lip service," he said "I try to get things done."
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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