What Happens When Private Groups Save Public Parks? | Connecticut Public Radio

What Happens When Private Groups Save Public Parks?

Chapel Street Bridge in Edgewood Park, New Haven, Conn.
Credit Wikimedia Commons

New Havenites reclaiming a beautiful park in their city got us thinking about urban parks in general. Frederick Law Olmsted is the undisputed father of American city parks, including Central Park itself. He came from Hartford, and he is buried here.

Hartford was an incredible park city, and by the 1930s it probably had more park acreage per capita than any other city in the nation. From the end of the Civil War to the beginning of World War II, Hartford was a city other cities looked at when they wanted ideas for beautiful parks. Today, the city doesn't even have a parks department, and many of the city's greatest parks are shadows of their former selves. So what do cities do about this? Today, we pool some ideas with people from New Haven and Hartford.


  • Willie Franklin Hoffman - President, Friends of Edgewood Park
  • Mark Oppenheimer - Reporter/New Haven Resident
  • Brendan Mahoney - Hartford Resident/Park User
  • Henry Hester - Vice President, Friends of Keney Park
  • Nancy Macy - Member, Friends of Pope Park/Director, Pope Park Hartford Designated Fund
  • Alex Ulam - Journalist