2008 Report for Lenzi Park

Neighborhood:

Wooster Square

Type of Site:

Park Friends

Address:

Corner of St. Johns and Jefferson Sts., New Haven, CT

Year

2008

Number of volunteers

13

Total volunteer hours

80

Number of events

1

Number of shrubs planted

4

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3 inkberry, 1 hydrangea

Number of perennials planted

16

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Black-eyed Susans

Yards compost spread

0.50

Yards mulch spread

8.00

Summary

This was the Friends of Lenzi Park's seventh year in the program and third year as an emeritus group. Over the years the group has been working hard to maintain the park, located on the corner of Jefferson and John Sts. in the Wooster Square neighborhood in New Haven. The park was named for Joseph Lenzi, a World War II veteran who grew up in the neighborhood. Since the park is well-established and beautiful, the group has shifted its focus to community-building and outreach as well as maintenance of the park. Some of the challenges for the group include invasive species overtaking perennial beds, and the accidental weed-wacking of several black-eyed susans planted in large beds peppered throughout the park. A long time challenge for the group has been the prevalence of criminal activity in the corner of the park hidden by vines from the neighboring property as well as a thicket of previously planted shrub roses. This was addressed by the planting of an odoriferous female gingko tree in a prior year. Alex Bragg and Sarah Ohly are the group leaders and have worked hard to encourage residents to enjoy the park. This year, four new volunteers joined the Friends of Lenzi Park, all of whom had recently moved into the new condominium complex on Grand Avenue. Two of the volunteers, a young couple, were particularly enthusiastic about the park and shared that their decision to purchase their condo was based in part on its proximity to Lenzi Park. An additional volunteer who lived outside of the area participated in maintenance activities semi-regularly just because he was touched by the commitment of the group. Both Alex and Sarah have worked even harder to encourage local businesses and social service agencies such as Project More, Project Apoyo and Project LEAP to assist in the maintenance activities of the park. Their efforts proved successful when a team of four hard-working volunteers and the community service coordinator from Project Apoyo spent several hours removing invasives, mulching, watering and protecting the perennial beds from weed-wackers and lawn-mowers. Early in the summer, the Friends of Lenzi Park set a goal to have the park refreshed and spruced up by the end of July when their annual community celebration was to be held. They met this goal through hard work and dedication. The celebration was a huge success since people from all over the neighborhood and even outside of the community came out to the park to enjoy traditional Italian desserts prepared by neighbors, the African drumming of Drums No Guns, a community-based educational arts and entertaining organization, and the re-dedication of the park to Joseph Lenzi which included a special planting around his monument and the flagpole. All goals were met this year and the enthusiasm of new members remains for the coming years. Site description: Lenzi Park is a large open park located off of Grand Avenue on the outskirts of the Wooster Square neighborhood. The park features several beds planted with native species of shrubs and evergreens such as cedar, as well as perennials such as bee balm, all of which reflect the group's commitment to native plantings. Oak and cherry trees were planted throughout the park along a meandering path. These trees provide shade over benches lining the path. One of the most impressive features of the park is a mural that was sketched by the late Mr. Ohly, and painted by teenagers from Project Apoyo. This work of art, which was made possible with a donation of paint and supplies from a local hardware store, spans the entire back wall of the Project Apoyo building. Because of the wide open design of the park, many use the space to exercise their dogs, sit quietly, meet friends, and simply enjoy its natural beauty.

Other activity

Annual Community Celebration/Picnic