“Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.” 

John Muir

Transforming a gun manufacturers test firing range into a symbol of hope and peace for those impacted by violence

Buried in the woods of an existing Hamden park is the former WWII-era gun test firing range once owned by ammunition manufacturer Winchester Repeating Arms. Lost to time and overgrown with invasive plants, this concrete structure will be transformed into a healing garden for anyone impacted by violence. Visitors will be able to walk the length of this former symbol of violence and reclaim the impact which violence has had on their own lives.

The design process for this sensitive project is being tastefully steered by Hamden’s award winning architect Marissa Dionne Mead. With an extensive background in connecting people and places, Marissa brings vision and talent to the project. Working closely with the Board of EGH, we plan to reimagine the former test firing range by transforming it into a place of hope and healing where people can connect with nature as they walk through the future 1.7 acre woodland garden. For those familiar with the story of the late Elijah Gomez, who this nonprofit was established in honor of, they can walk a portion of the journey which Elijah never finished on his way home from school on May 9, 2022.

Core to her design process is community feedback. Before any design plans are accelerated, we will be hosting feedback sessions for community members to share their thoughts on how the space can add value to the park and to those impacted by violence.

The initiative, which is estimated to cost around $2M to build, will be a multi-year project. Currently EGH is in the process of evaluating the structure and soil as it is a brownfield site. Once environmental assessments and surveys are completed, we will advance plans to design the garden. Fundraising will be a critical component of this project, as none of us imagined losing Eli at the age of 15 in 2022.

Support the garden by making a donation at the bottom of this page. To learn more please email growers@elisgardenofhealing.com

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