FAIRFIELD, Conn. — His familiar bench has been replaced by three updated models, but the memory of William “Frank” Godwin, a fixture at the corner of Oldfield and Reef roads, will live on in the new pocket park unveiled there Monday.
The Greater Fairfield Board of Realtors, in partnership with the town, used a $3,000 grant to spruce up the open area with inviting benches, a winding brick path and new trees and plantings, said board President Stephanie Barnes.
“We thought this would be a great way to remember him,” Barnes said of Godwin.
Thought by many to be homeless, the 87-year-old Bridgeport resident died in February after he was hit by a car in the city’s South End. Godwin was living in Bridgeport at the time, but he had been homeless off and on throughout his life and spent much of his free time in Fairfield, often napping on the park bench across from the 7-Eleven on Reef Road.
“This is where his home was, in essence, because he spent so much time here,” said First Selectman Michael Tetreau.
In a brief ceremony to christen the park, Tetreau thanked the Board of Realtors for using funds from the National Association of Realtors to make the well-traveled corner more attractive and inviting. The grant is intended to help Realtor associations partner with others to plan, organize, implement and maintain “place-making activities” in their communities, Barnes said.
“We are invested in our community,” she said. “This is our way of showing our appreciation to the community.”
Fairfield’s Department of Public Works spent about 100 hours of labor on this project. Community and Economic Development Director Mark Barnhart, who helped identify the location, used the Downtown Improvement Fund for materials.
Fairfield Tree Warden Jeff Minder helped add a more aesthetic appeal to the site by designing a landscaping plan that includes new plants and trees.
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.