To the Editor:
The New Haven Housing Authority (NHHA) on the night of Aug. 29th at the Keefe Community Center proposed removing three sections of fence bordering Woodin Street in Hamden.
The gist of their proposal was based on the idea that the majority of the new home construction would be owner occupied, with about 30 percent reserved for low income housing.
The NHHA concluded that the issues of the past would be mitigated due to owner occupancy and that this idea would greatly reduce the incidence of crime in the surrounding communities.
The people of Hamden gathered at the meeting (my guess upwards of about 300 people) were not buying a word that was spoken.
I came across an article published in the New Haven Register dated Sept 15th, 2004 concerning the Woodin Street fence that stated the following: “Much of the discussion centered on crime ranging from trespassing and vandalism to narcotics dealing coming from New Haven housing projects just south of Woodin Street.”
At the time, residents of the Woodin Street area were being terrorized by break-ins and frequent drug dealings. Memories were still fresh and vivid concerning the events of the recent past. Consequently, the folks were in no mood to discuss how the NHHA’s proposal was going to be any different from prior experience.
What was even more disconcerting was that the proposal to remove the fence did not offer any concrete ideas to address the concerns of the attendees and was doomed to fail from the start. This proposal should never have gone as far as it did. The folks were left with no alternative but to take matters into their own hands. Leadership from the mayor’s office was non-existent. Simply put, this was a victory for the people by the people.
With just a little historical research, any reasonable person would have concluded that a proposal of this nature had no chance to pass. The lack of leadership on the part of the Adminstration was evident and contributed to the tone of the meeting. The most amazing part of the story is related to how the people pulled together in a show of solidarity to overwhelmingly defeat the proposal. Outside of a court order, the fence will remain standing. Sadly though, given Hamden’s string of recent losses in the courts, the outcome of this issue is far from certain.