STAMFORD, Conn. (CBSNewYork) — Residents in one suburb are unhappy with the impact after a school moved into their neighborhood. Once the facility was opened, an adjacent park was suddenly closed to the public during school hours.
When Westover Magnet School temporarily relocated to a Stamford office building, signs went up saying “Park Closed To Public During School Hours.”
And so did barricades.
Kosciuszko Park, which is adjacent to the new school site, is closed to the public from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on school days.
“There’s quite a few offices over there. A lot of business people go there for lunch, a lot of people walk around there just for exercise,” Stamford resident Kristy Hafez told CBS2’s Tony Aiello on Wednesday.
And some still do, even though they’re not supposed to and could get a summons.
“The residents are pretty much upset with that,” Stamford legislator Marion McGarry said. “They really want to use their park. It’s a giant park on the water. It’s beautiful. They would like to use the park. They have no idea why it’s closed.”
The co-chair of the Parks and Recreation Committee said there was no discussion or vote before public access was restricted.
It happened last month when Westover School was closed due to needing extensive asbestos remediation. The move to the new building was understandably disruptive and difficult for the 700 students. City Hall said the park was closed to “ensure their safety.”
But some don’t buy that.
It turns out there’s a number of schools in Stamford located near parks, where kids and the public use the park during school hours, CBS2’s Aiello reported.
“We are assured by the police and by the administration that the parks are safe and we are safe. So therefore, I don’t know why the park is closed,” McGarry said.
McGarry said she wants the Stamford Board of Representatives to take up the issue, with an eye on lifting the restrictions.
The city’s director of administration said he understands the inconvenience to the public, and promises to monitor the school’s use of the park to see if reopening it to the public is an option.