What is happening with the Kensington Playground?
In November of 2020 a group called the Friends of Kensington Playground (FOKP) filed a lawsuit against the City of New Haven to stop the sale and development of Kensington Playground into affordable and deeply affordable housing.
Because the new construction at Kensington Playground is a component of the larger Kensington Square Project, which includes the creation and investment into additional parkland in the Dwight community, this lawsuit has delayed the timeline for phase two of the redevelopment.
Since the Dwight community identified Kensington Playground as a site for housing before the larger Kensington Square project came to fruition, TCB is confident the lawsuit will be resolved so we may proceed with the construction of the new, much-needed affordable and deeply affordable housing at this site. More information and updates as the lawsuit progresses can be found on our News and Updates page.
What are the community benefits of this development?
- Historic renovations of existing buildings and the construction of new affordable housing.
- Creation of a playground and community gardens at Garden Street Park. Funding designated for Day Street Park improvements.
- Construction of a new, accessible management office and resident services spaces to be managed and maintained by TCB.
- Continued supportive services to residents through The Connection and TCB’s Community Life Program.
- Resource support to local nonprofit organizations that provide education and homeownership opportunities in the community.
How was the location for the new construction selected?
TCB worked with the Dwight Community Management Team, Greater Dwight Development Corporation, elected officials, and the Kensington Square and Dwight neighborhood communities to identify potential sites.
Kensington Playground had previously been identified as a site for housing before the larger Kensington Square Redevelopment came to fruition and was chosen based on feedback from the above-mentioned groups regarding public safety concerns that have impacted the neighborhood and this site.
40 different abutters submitted a petition to the Community Development Public Hearing in support of this project because they saw an opportunity to improve this corner of the neighborhood.
How will this project ensure access to green space?
TCB is providing funding to the city for improvements to enhance Day Street Park, which is well used by children and families. Additionally, TCB is constructing an additional park at 16 Garden Street. This park will have play areas, sitting areas, and community gardens.
The project will provide a net gain of tree coverage for the neighborhood. The development at Kensington Playground sets aside open space that will result in a net gain of 20,000 square feet of tree coverage compared to what exists currently in the neighborhood. This provides benefits both to air quality and to heat effect in the neighborhood.
Is it true that Kensington Playground is being sold to TCB for $1?
The claim that the park is being sold for $1 is an oversimplification to the point of inaccuracy. The sale of Kensington Playground is not separate from the larger project. While the “sale price” of the property is $1, as part of the larger exchange TCB is contributing $80,000 towards necessary and overdue improvements to the nearby Day Street and Garden parks to ensure the community has access to high-quality greenspace while providing much needed affordable housing for city residents. This allows TCB to contribute directly to the neighborhood by making the exchange a separate provision of the Land Disposition agreement.
How is it ensured that the units will be affordable?
All the apartments will have a deed restriction in place that ensures that they will remain affordable for forty years. The deed restriction ensures that these homes are reserved for families earning no more than 60% of the Area Median Income (AMI), which for New Haven County is approximately $60,000 for a family of four. However, many of the apartments are income restricted at even more affordable levels and most will include a rental subsidy ensuring families can always afford
When will the development be completed?
Phase two of the development will be completed in two stages, starting with the renovation of existing Kensington Square apartments. The full development is currently scheduled for completion in the Fall of 2022.
How is this project funded?
TCB received a Federal LIHTC tax credit award – one of 7 projects funded in the state. This is the primary source of funds which relies on private investment to purchase tax credits. There are also CHFA mortgages, TCB resources, utility rebates, and HOME funds. City HOME funds only make up 1.6% of the total budget.