Historic Wooster Square Association

Working to keep the 
strong & vibrant

Working to keep the neighborhood strong & vibrant
Working to keep the neighborhood strong & vibrant


• • • • •
The Benches have had a complete overhall!
See photos of the celebration on Sunday, June 12, 2016, below.

Members of the Italian Societies enjoy their new benches.
Theresa Argento, second from left, with friends.
St. Michael pastor Monsignor Gerard Schmitz, with Wooster Square neighbors Charlie Murphy and Laura Morrison
A bench, with plaques honoring the sponsor: The Columbus Day Committee of Greater New Haven
A local resident enjoys the comfort of a newly restored bench.
Note the before photo below, at right. 
This bench shows that renovation is needed.

The 22 benches in Wooster Square Park were removed in January for a complete restoration job, supported by donations from individuals, families and organizations with longtime connections to Wooster Square.  

The City’s Department of Parks, Recreation and Trees, with the donated funds, contracted for the work, and the benches were restored. The like-new benches were back in place on March 22.


To bring the benches back to that like-new condition, the existing historic benchframes were sandblasted down to bare metal, given a zinc-rich primer coat an  finished with a very durable black powdercoat.  The wood slats were replaced with new ipe wood* and fastened with all stainless steel hardware. 

Regular users of the Park have long commented on the deterioration of those benches (see before photo) -  the effects of weather, age, and wear and tear had taken a severe toll.  In fact, it had been decades since the benches last had a complete renovation or replacement. The company that made them is no longer even in business.

The Historic Wooster Square Association (HWSA)  organized and coordinated the project with the City of New Haven. Long-time board member and Cherry Blossom Festival co-founder Beverly Carbonella, who died last May, was a major force in getting the project underway. 

“The Historic Wooster Square Association is dedicated to preserving, enhancing and celebrating the Wooster Square neighborhood,” says Elsie Chapman, president of the Association.  “We were thrilled with the outpouring of support for bench renovation and we have an even more beautiful historic Wooster Square Park for all to enjoy for decades to come with the benches back in place.


What is ipe wood? Also called Brazilian walnut, ipe (pronounced ee-pay) wood is typically found in South America and some parts of Central America. It is one of the densest hardwoods available, three times harder than cedar. Ipe has the same fire rating as concrete and steel, meaning it resists flames much longer than softer woods, and is so dense that it doesn't float in water.

Commemoration and Remembrance 

Funding for the project came from donations of  $1,600 per 8-foot bench.  

This covered:

•  the cost of removing the existing bench

•  restoring the bench

•  placing two plaques on each bench in recognition of the donor or donors 

•  reinstalling the bench.