Bridgeport to get funds for new community garden

BRIDGEPORT — A 1.5-acre parcel in the city’s South End will soon be transformed into a community garden.

The vacant lot at 77-127 Garden St., behind the parking lots for the Homes for the Brave and Mercy Learning Center on Park Avenue, will be turned into a park and community garden using a $171,500 Open Space and Watershed Land Acquisition grant.

“Preserving open space in Bridgeport is critical to ensuring a healthy, pleasant atmosphere in this urban neighborhood,” said state Sen. Anthony Musto, D-Trumbull, whose district includes a part of Bridgeport. “This grant will transform an existing eyesore into an attractive park and community maintained garden, making the neighborhood an even better place to live and raise a family.”

The open space grants are part of a program administered by the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection that uses state bonds and funding from the 2005 Community Investment Act to support 35 communities in purchasing 2,732 acres across Connecticut and as part of a goal to protect 673,210 acres of land by 2023.

“Land conservation is an important investment in our future, and moves us closer to meeting our goal of protecting 21 percent of Connecticut’s land as open space in the next ten years,” said Malloy. “These preservation projects are key to maintaining our high quality of life and making Connecticut a great place to live, work and raise a family.”

The lot at 127 Garden St. is owned by the Bridgeport Housing Authority. In 2009, the BHA was awarded a $200,000 EPA grant to remediate the site, which lies across the street from the authority’s renovated Eleanor and Franklin housing complex. The site was contaminated with arsenic, metals, mercury, and inorganic contaminants.

“Bringing Bridgeport residents closer to their natural environment through the expansion of parks, recapturing our waterfront and creating community gardens has been one of the highest priorities for our BGreen 2020 initiative,” said Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch. “Enhancing this open space with a new community garden will be a great addition to the neighborhood.”

Keila Torres Ocasio