Art History

Hamden sees abandoned school campus for new community center | Pro Club Bd

Weeds have begun to devour the brick facade and crawl along a set of gray double doors at the front of the building. Torn screens and broken glass cut dark, jagged holes in the windows.

But a new plan is taking shape in the city’s government center, aimed at freeing the estate from its seemingly endless limbo.

For Mayor Lauren Garrett, the image comes into focus. The existing structures of the site will be demolished. An arts and culture center replaces the old gymnasium, while a community center occupies the high ground where the main academic building now stands.

Her government brought the idea to the Legislative Council on Monday, and she said funding from the American Rescue Plan Act and state grants could help fund the project.

The concept represents a departure from previous plans for the property, which for years would be developed by Mutual Housing, a non-profit organization tasked with building affordable housing on the city-owned site.

But due in part to ongoing cleanup efforts — the school and surrounding neighborhood were built on land contaminated by an industrial landfill — development stalled, and the 2015 contract between the city and Mutual Housing expired.

In April, after granting several extensions, the Legislative Council chose not to go ahead with the agreement, opening the door to new opportunities for the property.

Keefe Center 2.0

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