FRIEND OF WOOSTER SQUARE AWARD • 2016
Christy Hass served as New Haven’s deputy director of parks, recreation and trees from 1999 until her retirement earlier this year. During that time, she oversaw the renovation and opening to the public of the Lighthouse Park carousel and East Rock Soldiers & Sailors Monument, modernized the East Rock Park workshop and Pardee Rose Garden, and arranged for the New Haven Green’s annual holiday tree to be identified, transported to the Green and festooned with light. She successfully figured out how to maintain parks with a decimated budget and staff, advocated for trees against overzealous trimming plans and pulled all-nighters to help the city cope with recent years’ superstorms.
The neighborhood volunteers who care so much about the parks miss her. Stephanie FitzGerald of the Friends of Edgewood Park praised Christy’s responsiveness, great ideas and enthusiasm. Peter Webster of the Historic Wooster Square Association recalled her assistance with the annual Cherry Blossom Festival and seeing to the care of the park’s and neighborhood’s trees. “She understood that parks are like the lungs of the city; she knew the trees; she knew the parks; she cared,” he said. Christy herself admits that passion is hard to let go of, and it’s the hard part of retiring.
Before coming to New Haven, Christy was head of parks and recreation in Rocky Hill for 22 years, Connecticut’s first female parks and rec chief. In New Haven, she was also the first woman to hold her position. She held it wonderfully, and we are pleased to name her this year’s and many years’ Friend of Wooster Square.