Friday, June 20, 2008

Problems in Donovan Park

Over the last eight months or so, residents of the North End, and YMCA employees have noticed problems at Donovan Park in the North End. In addition to being a public park run by the Middletown Parks and Recreation department, Donovan Park also serves as the playground for Macdonough Elementary School and a site for after-school and summer kids programming. While many of the families in the North End use the park well, there are a handful of people that are abusing the park and making it difficult for others to enjoy the space.

On Wednesday, June 18th, North End leaders met in the Macdonough School Cafeteria with officials from the Park and Rec department, the Middletown Police Department, the YMCA and the Board of Ed। to find a solution. In the end, short and long term goals were agreed upon by all who attended. Starting right now, Park and Rec and the Board of Ed are pursuing deeding the playground and basketball court area over to the Board of Ed so that officials from Macdonough and its affiliated after-school programs would have the authority to control the uses of the space while they are operating. Neighborhood residents in attendance agreed that this was the best first step with the caveat that this change not exclude residents from continuing to use the park for recreational activities, since it is the last remaining playground in the North End.

It was agreed that there would be a goal to reallocate the oversight of space from city to Board of Ed by September. Councilman Joe Bibisi, who attended the meeting, will bring the proposed change to the Common Council for approval following a formalized agreement to assume responsibility for a portion of the playground by the Board of Education.

Park and Rec is also going to look into lighting the space better to discourage illegal activities that are occurring after dark. All were in agreement that this problem is shared between the city, the police department and the community, but it is the residents of the North End suffer most. Residents agreed to begin spending more time there to bring positive activities to the park and discourage problems.

Most of the reported problems are occurring on the basketball courts, so many of the possible solutions are focused on that area. One longer-term option includes finding funding for a PAL, or Police Athletic League, that would encourage mentoring and relationship-building between youth and the police department. Another possibility is some kind of program that engages kids on the basketball court in organized intramural games. John Milardo from Park and Rec will pursue the investigation of ordinance change to allow more signage to added that posts park rules. He will pursue this through the Park and Rec Commission. If ordinance change is recommended it must then go to the Common Council for approval. It was suggested that all parks have such signage and that there be research into models used in other cities.

For now, residents hope that people will use the park often। Spend time there throwing a frisbee, playing basketball or climbing on the play scape। Bring your families to the park, and don't be afraid to call the police if you do witness illegal activity. We all have to be responsible for the space, like it or not. If we as a community aren't interested, no one else will be either.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Special NEAT Meeting! Please Attend!

In the last few months, the Macdonough School Playground and
Basketball court have been a source of increasing concern for
residents of the neighborhood. While many people enjoy the park,
playing basketball and climbing on the playscape, a small group of
teenagers have reportedly been using the space for illegal activities
and are having a negative impact on after school programs and

We need to find a solution. Please come to this important meeting to
share concerns and brainstorm ways to make this space safer for the
kids and families of the North End.

Special Guests Include:

*Ray Santostefano & John Milardo from the Park and Rec Dept.

*Capt. Greg Sneed and Deputy Chief McMahon from the MPD

*YMCA Kids Korner Staff

*Representative from the Mayor's Office

We need neighborhood families to get involved and voice their concern.

Some options being discussed are:

*Turning the park over to the Board of Ed

*Installing cameras

*Light the park at night

*Closing the park entirely

*Do nothing and continue as is

What else?

The neighborhood cannot lose it's last park. Please attend.

Meeting will be held in the Macdonough School Cafeteria.

Childcare will be provided and there will be pizza for the kids.

Job Opening at the Russell Library

Be at the center of an energetic public library operation!

Russell Library, Middletown, CT, needs an experienced, conscientious,
organized person to help administer its budget and to execute payroll,
accounts payable, accounts receivable, and purchasing functions. The
Administrative Assistant maintains attendance and confidential
personnel records, prepares financial and statistical reports, and
serves as Library contact person with several City of Middletown

Applicants should have an Associate's degree in Business
Administration and 3 years relevant experience (or equivalent
combination of education and experience), a working knowledge of
public library functions, a strong working knowledge of bookkeeping
and payroll administration, and experience with QuickBooks financial
software, Microsoft Word and Excel.

Salary range starts at $43,557

Applications are available at:

Submit applications and resumes in hard copy by June 30 , 2008 to:

Arthur S. Meyers, Director, Russell Library, 123 Broad Street,
Middletown, CT 06457

You may include your email address on your resume to expedite

Homeownership Workshops

Once again, NEAT, in partnership with the Green Street Arts Center,
Liberty Bank and Bank of America, will be offering First Time
Homeowner and Credit Counceling Classes. These classes will be held
at the Green Street Arts Center on June 19, 24, 26, and July 1 at 6:00

Rosa Carrero from Liberty Bank will present four info sessions
designed to help people take the first steps toward buying a home.
Topics include credit counseling (Session 1), finding the right home
(Session 2), the lending process (Session 3) and understanding
Legalities (Session 4). Participants in all four will receive A
certificate of completion that meets one eligibility requirement for
The City Of Middletown grant and down payment assistance, CHFA and
CHFA Down payment assistance programs.

Please call NEAT to sign up for any and all classes. 346-4845 or

Home for Sale: Nehemiah's 58 Green

This is a great opportunity for First-Time Home-Buyers! Nehemiah
Housing Corp, a North End non-profit is rehabbing and now offering
this beautiful home for sale:

3-BR owner's unit with 2BR rental unit

All new appliances in completely renovated Kitchen and Bathroom

Newly finished Hardwood Floors

2220 total Square Feet of living space

No Down Payment

100% financing programs available

Estimated List Price: $230,000

Income restrictions apply.

Contact Michael Taylor, @ Nehemiah Housing, 860-347-362

Special Events this Saturday, June 14th:

Green Street Arts Fest:

Please help celebrate North End pride on Saturday, June 14, from 1-5pm
for Green Street's 4th Annual Arts Fest. Showcasing the talents of its
afterschool students and teaching artists, as well as the Homeschool
Tap Class and Adult Writers Workshop, they'll have lots of
performances, activities and fun in and out of doors for the whole
family. From 4-5pm Tito Ortiz y Son Borincano close out the event with
an incredible salsa performance.

By attending the festival, you'll also receive a coupon worth $5 off
any Green Street class $60 or under; or $10 off any class $65 or over.
Just make sure to stop by the greeters tent at the festival to claim
your coupon.

Buttonwood Tree Open House :

The Buttonwood Tree is hosting an open house to celebrate CT Statewide
Open House Day. They will have artists displaying their work in our
gallery, music all day, jewelry, earth-encrusted mirrors, hand-made
violins, better-than-ever sales on all sorts of things, refreshments
and we'll offer one FREE BOOK to every visitor.

Saturday, June 14 10 am - 4 pm

Canoe the North End Watershed:

This trip is sponsored by the Connecticut River Watershed Council and
the Mattabeseck Audubon Society. Departing Saturday, June 14 at 9am
from and returning to Harbor Park, this trip offers a guided tour of
the Mattabesset River's birds and ecology. Bring your own canoe or
kayak, paddles, life jackets, hat, sunscreen, water, snack. Optional
things to bring- binoculars, camera, bug spray. Kids are welcome. Rain
cancels. We'll return to Harbor Park midday. For more information,
contact Megan Hearne (860) 704-0057 or Alison Guinness (860) 873-9304.
ALSO, if you can't make this trip and are interested in canoing the
watershed on your own, NEAT has maps of the watershed that you can
have. Just let us know or stop in. 668 Main St.

Father's Day Celebration:

This is just a friendly reminder of the Fathers Day Celebration that
will be held Saturday, June 14 at Donovan Park (Macdonough School
Playground) 11 a.m to 6 p.m. Everyone is welcome.

Thursday, June 12, 2008


The Children’s Circus of Middletown, run by Oddfellows Playhouse as part of the Middletown Commission on the Arts’ Kids Arts program, is, once again, looking for musicians to play in its circus band. The band is open to all adult and teenage musicians willing to make the commitment to rehearsals and the performance on Friday, August 1, at 5:00 pm. Band director is well-known local musician, Dirck Westervelt.

Percussion, horns, woodwinds, strings (electric or acoustic) are all needed. There will be an organizational meeting on Tuesday, June 24 from 6-9 pm at Oddfellows Playhouse, 128 Washington Street, Middletown. Rehearsals will be on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6-9 pm throughout the month of July. Although attendance at all rehearsals is not compulsory, band members are expected to have consistent attendance and must be available for the dress rehearsal on July 31 and the performance at Spencer School in Middletown on August 1. Professional or highly experienced musicians are often able to “sit in” by coming to a few rehearsals before the show.

This is the 20th annual Children’s Circus, a 5-week program for Middletown youngsters ages 8 to 14. Over 200 young people learn such skills as juggling, stilt-walking, clowning, unicycling, acrobatics, and dance and present the results in a stupendous outdoor show, accompanied by live music by the circus band. The show annually attracts an audience of about 1,000.

To sign up for the circus band, please call Oddfellows Playhouse at (860) 347-6143.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Kid City FREE to North End Families Tuesday ONLY!

This heat wave is brutal.  If you want to beat the heat, Kid City, a children's museum on Washington St. is offering free admission to any North End Family tomorrow (Tuesday) only.  The offer is for anyone with children 1-5 and is a real treat for kids and parents alike.  This is a great chance to check out the museum if you've never been there or just need a way to keep cool (very air conditioned!).  Check it out and let them know that you're a North End Family for free admission.

Also, if you don't have children, please pass this info on to your neighbors, or anyone that you see in the neighborhood (with kids) that looks like they could use a break from the heat.  This kind of heat can be dangerous and we want to give peope a way to cool down and have some fun.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

HOT SPOTS: June 2008

The monthly hot spots report is a compilation of any areas of concern regarding public safety, sanitation, building code, traffic, drug activity, etc., and is compiled by residents, property owners, retail staff, and stakeholders to inform municipal officials of conditions identified as chronic problems in the North End. 

The N.E. Community Policing and Code Enforcement meeting takes place the first Wednesday of the month at the Green Street Arts Center. Anyone is welcome to attend. This report is passed on to the  appropriate city officials so that they can investigate and take action.  All reports are confidential. If you see an emergency or crime in progress please call police immediately.


Good news on funding for homeownership plan on Ferry, Green, and Rapallo


  • Macdonough School playground issues continue to escalate.  Afterschool personnel from YMCA have felt targeted.  Staff is reluctant to press charges due to concerns about personal safety.  NEAT has requested a collaborative approach to creating solutions for this problem including but not limited to Macdonough staff, YMCA Kids Corner staff, parent rep, NEAT, Park & Rec, police, city.
  • Second house on east side of Frazier has suspicious activity.  Reports of alleged drug activity have been received.
  • Continued reports of drug activity, loitering, intimidation of residents continues to be reported in the area around Arescos Market.  Residents on the west side of Main are increasingly frustrated with this situation.
  • 22 Portland Street continues to be a problem.  Reports of drug activity in the parking lot at that property.
  • 20 Portland Street has conditions of blight.
  • Reports of suspected drug activity in the lower Ferry area between abandoned playground and Nehemiah Housing.  Nehemiah staff has not identified any of its tenants as being involved.
  • 11 Rapallo Avenue has suspected drug activity.
  • 45-50 Green has been reported with suspected drug activity


·        Continue to maintain a community policing presence in the neighborhood including foot patrols during all shifts

·        Create a plan to stem problems at the city playground at Macdonough

·        Replant and beautify the abandoned playground at lower Ferry.  This area may become the site of further housing redevelopment but, in the meantime, it should not be allowed to become overgrown and unattractive.

·        Continue to maintain attention to detail with respect to building/health code enforcement

·        Follow-up on Pat McMahon’s suggestion of holding a meeting with NEAT to review and discuss means to continue to develop positive communications between neighborhood and police.