BRIDGEPORT, Conn. — The city of Bridgeport reopened Trumbull Gardens Community Center on Monday, making good on a promise made just two weeks ago to children looking ahead to summer.
At a gathering for a forum on gun violence on May 31, several residents of the North End housing complex told city, state and federal leaders that opening the center, which has been shuttered for about two years, would be a welcome first step to giving kids a safe, positive place to go.
“You did it,” U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal told residents Monday. “There’s a lesson here for young people about adults keeping promises.
“My hope is that kids are going to be here shooting baskets rather than shooting each other or shooting up.”
Karen Bracey, president of the Trumbull Gardens residents association, said the center, which boasts a large basketball court and bleachers, will be open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 3 to 9 p.m in the summer. During the school year, it will close at 8 p.m.
Bracey said she hopes the center will offer children’s basketball and Double Dutch, as well as computer activities and movie nights. Residents plan to invite teens and adults to watch "Monday Night Football" and to hold family events, such as a tea social.
State Sen. Marilyn Moore told Housing Authority Director Lee Byers that state violence prevention funding might be used to fund a science and technology program for children at the center.
“I want to get them out of the street, off the sidewalk and into this building,” she said.
Trumbull Gardens has been the site of a number of violent incidents, including a June 2015 shooting that left one man dead and eight injured, including a grandmother who was taking a shower.
At the gun forum, Blumenthal vowed he would return if the center was not opened within two weeks. At Monday’s event, he said he would continue to support steps towards a positive future for the youngest person at the meeting, Malaysia Angelique Colon, Bracey’s 2-month-old granddaughter.
“We’re returning it to its former glory,” he said looking over at the infant.
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