Tensions are brewing in Hamden over plans to knock down a fence between Hamden and New Haven.
The Housing Authority of New Haven has proposed knocking down the fence that has separated the Woodin Street area from New Haven for decades to give people in public housing access to roads; but many Hamden residents are against the plan.
"I think the crime rate is going to increase. I think the traffic is going to increase," said Lee Mulligan, of Hamden.
Mulligan was among the Hamden residents who packed into the M.L. Keefe Community Center on Pine Street on Wednesday to hear more about the plan to take the fence down.
The Housing Authority of New Haven said the purpose of eliminating the fence is to open up the community and give residents in public housing easier access to roads.
"We want to reconnect the street grid there, so we want to make improvements on the Hamden side, too," said Karen Debois-Walton, executive director for the housing authority.
However, many Hamden residents said since the fence went up, there’s been less crime in their area and they want to leave things as-is.
"I’m for keeping it up. We’ve had so many experiences over the years before that fence. We definitely don’t want it to come down," said Tony Marone.
Others are also concerned about property values.
"Values in Hamden aren’t high right now, and with this fence going down, they’re going to go even lower," Mulligan said.
The Housing Authority said that potential New Haven residents who live near the Hamden/New Haven border will be properly vetted before they’re given a housing unit.
"We do screenings on who the new residents are, coming in," Debois-Walton said.
For now, the fence dismantling is only a proposal. City leaders said Wednesday’s meeting will be one of many that will take place before the plan goes before Hamden’s city council.