Our Stories

A Crime Hotspot Called the “Mudhole” Becomes a Home for Learning and Butterflies

In New Haven, CT's Newhallville neighborhood, LISC and a DOJ Innovations in Community Based Crime Reduction grant helped a coalition of residents, advocates, law enforcement and others transform a former drug market into a bona fide community gem. The park now boasts a butterfly garden, farmers markets, bike repair and a communication kiosk. And to top it off, the grant funded local children to make a film about the project. Watch it here! 

The below excerpt and video are from:
Kids’ Videos Hail Newhallville Heroes
by Allan Appel, New Haven Independent

The growing inspiring story of how an infamous drug dealing spot has risen from the ashes to become an oasis for plant life and cultural life in Newhallville hit the silver screen, courtesy of neighborhood kids who are honing video chops.

The short video, titled “From Mudhole To Learning Corridor,” and several others were centerpieces of “Kids TV Family Fun Film Festival,” an annual event that drew nearly a 100 kids and their families to the Lincoln-Bassett School Monday night.

The evening also marked the 30th year that Kim Harris, operator of the Harris and Tucker Preschool,  chair of the Newhallville Community Management Team, and creator of last summer’s One City initiative,  has culminated her school’s summer TV production-themed camp with a community-focused premier of the kids’ video projects.

This year Harris’s program scored $10,000 from the federal Byrne Grant, a $1 million-dollar three-year federal neighborhood empowering grant for Newhallville.

That enabled the kids and their instructors to take their movies “to the next level” technically, Harris said.

I particularly enjoyed how the films actually showed the filming. We saw the young interviewer asking Gary Gates his biggest wish for Newhallville. We also saw the two kids holding the boom microphones, and the whole team learning teamwork together, as part of the story.

Gates’ answer to his interviewer: “My greatest wish for Newhallville is that it be safe.”

You could tell from how the kids conducted their interviews and follow-up questions that they were, as Amina Ahmed suggested, particularly interested in the story of how their parents’ generations’ efforts, inlcuding by Doreen Abubakar, to turn a dangerous open-air drug market into a beloved community park.

They had taken the vacant and abused space at Shelton near Hazel at the access to the Farmington Canal, and enhanced it with a butterfly garden, brought in peripatetic activities like green markets and a petting zoo. Community partners, such as Devil’s Gear Bike Shop and the Bradley Bicycle Coop, brought in bike rental and bike repair, a communication “tower,” and many other amenities.

Continue to original article [+]...