- Associated Press - Sunday, April 13, 2014

WEST HAVEN, Conn. (AP) - A land restriction may block a proposed playground in West Haven memorializing the 20 children and six educators who were fatally shot at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Twenty-six “Where Angels Play” playgrounds are being built by the New Jersey-based Sandy Ground Project in Connecticut, New Jersey and New York.

The New Haven Register reports (https://bit.ly/Qkvn7A ) that the West Haven Land Trust has a conservation easement intended to shield the shoreline from development, which could include a playground.

Land Trust members worry that approving a playground would set a precedent.

“We’re thinking ahead the next 50 years or more,” said Land Trust member Gabriel Alvandian, the organization’s former president. “Once we start to give in on something … it would also be a precedent for the future.”

But city officials such as Mayor Ed O’Brien, say West Haven will look heartless and disrespectful if it rejects a proposal to honor adults and the children who were shot in December 2012. O’Brien also said he does not consider a playground to be a development.

“I think it will show West Haven in a bad light. … It’s something we should be welcoming with open arms,” he said.

The Sandy Ground Project, with involvement by the family of Charlotte Bacon, wants to build a seaside playground in memory of Charlotte, who was 6 when she died with 19 other Sandy Hook first-graders and 6 educators.

West Haven Fire Department Chief James O’Brien said he would like the playground to go forward.

“I think the real intent of the land trust is to not have development per se - condos, hotels,” he said. “I think it would be a great thing for the family and for us to be able to put it on our shoreline. Hopefully … we can work something out.”

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Information from: New Haven Register, https://www.nhregister.com


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