Return Gary Crooks Memorial Center to the Community
Opened on May 16, 1974, Gary Crooks Memorial Center was built in honor of 8-year-old Gary Crooks who died on the city's property. It was home to the ABCD Arts Center whose staff participated in its design, specifically for art activities. This memorial center was the home of vibrant Black cultural arts in Bridgeport with music, painting, camps, pottery, photography, and more. It was a creative, social, cultural, and political space for the entire community!
The arts community and residents of PT fought for this center in the 70s and after it was transferred to the housing authority it has been mainly used for Bridgeport Housing Authority's administrative purposes. Residents want it back and demand that it be returned as a community center where children can thrive and grow!
The city of Bridgeport has few places where youth and families can be together safely, outside of their home. At PT Barnum housing it is even more crucial they have this space. There are troubles between young people from different neighborhoods and this impacts the safety of everyone who lives in the various neighborhoods. Families, specifically PT Barnum Apartments, in the Black Rock area, need a community center where people can gather and be neighbors.