Site improvement work has commenced at Freedom Park, located at the intersection of Whitney and Dixwell avenues, according to Mayor Scott D. Jackson and Public Works and Parks Director Craig Cesare. A 25' foot White Fir tree has replaced the original Freedom Tree and further landscaping will begin shortly.
The original tree was diseased and has been removed, and the town worked with the Hamden Veteran's Commission and the Clean & Green Commission in the ongoing beautification of Freedom Park and the entire Whitney and Dixwell Avenue intersection, according to Chief Administrative Officer Curt Leng.
The Freedom Park Fountain was upgraded and landscaping and sidewalk improvements were implemented last year, and beautification continues this year with dead and diseased trees being removed along Whitney Avenue, which will be replaced by new trees soon, Leng said.
The White Fir tree was purchased on the recommendation of the Hamden Veteran's Commission and will be used as the town's holiday tree, he said, and landscaping will continue with input and suggestions from both The Clean and Green Commission and the Veteran's Commission.
"While the town conducts improvements to Freedom Park, the mayor thought it was important to highlight the history of the park and again thank those who were involved," he said.
According to Abner Oakes, Chairman of the Hamden Veteran's Commission: "On Sunday, Jan. 28, 1973, Connecticut’s First Freedom Tree was dedicated honoring America’s POW and MIAs. At 7 p.m. that Saturday, the cease fire was officially declared. There were Connecticut parents in attendance who had just been advised that their son was now declared a P.O.W.
"The park at the corner of Dixwell and Whitney Avenues was chosen for the location by Mayor William Adams. Members of Hamden’s Junior Woman’s Club led by President Linda Carocari, Lyndell Betzner and Cynthia Oakes worked with Voices in Vital America to distribute over 15,000 POW/MIA bracelets with the help of local school children.”