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One Stratford Man's Gripe about High Park

A tree that needs trimming, gang and drug activity and sloppy grounds, are the main complaints.

If he wanted to, Bill Twiss could probably write a book on Stratford's High Park.

For as long as he's been alive -- he's 70 now -- Twiss has lived within eye- and earshot of the town park.

"I've seen it better than this, I've seen it worse than this," Twiss said from the porch of his Graham Street home Monday. "I've complained about the park for years."

Twiss' long-standing gripes include a tree whose limbs droop over wires on Graham Street; apparent gang and drug activity at the park; and inadequate maintenance of the grounds.

"Me and neighbors pick up trash the town leaves [after mowing]," Twiss said.

There's also the issue of an overgrown baseball infield, which Twiss said hasn't been trimmed in a year.

"Last time I saw anyone use it was last summer," said the septuagenarian. "I understand Little League rents it out but they won't play here anymore. The town is supposed to fix it up but they're dragging their feet."

Bridgeport resident Jack Moore was at the Stratford park earlier this week to shoot hoops. "I’ve never seen anybody use it," Moore said of the ball field adjacent to Graham Street. "I've been coming here for maybe 10 years."

"I get a lot of complaints with the field," said Councilman Jason Santi who represents the Fourth District, which is where High Park is located. "A lot of work is needed."

Santi said he and fellow Town Council members last year approved $25,000 for improvements at the park. He said town officials are waiting for a bid before deciding how to improve the fields.

“High Park needs a lot of tender love and care...drainage is awful, bases are misaligned...parks director said it's a disaster," Santi said. "[But] there's not a lot of money to reinvent the wheel."

The councilman said he'd like to see the graffiti on the playground scrubbed clean and patrols stay on top of reported gang and drug activity at the park. Santi said he's been in contact with the and officers have been doing a good job patrolling the area.

Twiss seemed to agree, saying 30 years ago gang and drug activity was a lot more rampant than what he sees today.

As far as Twiss' tree gripe is concerned -- "four years I've been trying to get it trimmed" -- Santi said he's brought it to the attention of public works and it's on their list.

Loren August 29, 2012 at 12:31 PM
Tree trimming associated with power wiring should be handled with the local power company. I recently called UI to have a tree trimmed in our neighborhood and it was done within a week. I called UI via their website info. https://www.uinet.com/wps/portal/uinet/home "Tree branches and limbs on power lines can lead to power outages. To report a tree trimming problem, please call us at 1-800-7-CALL UI (1-800-722-5584). If you live in the New Haven area, call 203-499-3333. When you call, please have the following information ready: Your contact information Address of tree problem One of the following pieces of information: Cross Street Landmark Pole Number Important: It is vital that you DO NOT attempt to trim the tree yourself. Serious injury or death could result." Sad seeing High Park in such neglect. I grew up in that neighborhood and recently visited and was surprised the baseball fields were in such horrible shape. I thought Stratford Baseball Association (PAL) used those fields for Spring and Fall baseball? The basketball courts were in excellent condition though...something I never remember seeing as a youth (nets were always missing or the hoops were completely torn down).
Jason Bagley (Editor) August 29, 2012 at 12:47 PM
Thanks for your comments, Loren. I should have mentioned Bill told me he's called UI and they told him that the town needs to handle it because the tree is in fact on town property, ie, within the boundary of the park.
Bandit 1977 September 01, 2012 at 06:03 PM
I had a great time growing up in that park & playing baseball there in the late 70's & early 80's its a shame the diamond across from the twiss residence looks the way it does

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