Business has been down for eateries and shops near Sleeping Giant State Park.
The park has been closed since a tornado touched down in May of 2018.
Anthony Improta, the owner of Tonino’s Pizzeria, said, “It’s a big deal. We need this park to open.”
Regina Banos, the owner of Wentworth Ice Cream, stated, “There will be a few people that don’t know Sleeping Giant is closed because in their guide book it might not tell them that so we will get a few people here that thought Sleeping Giant would be a great day trip.”
Surrounding businesses depend on the foot traffic from sightseers, cyclists and hikers.
Improta said, “It’s been a significant impact. I mean, the park draws tons of folks throughout the state and when they come down from the mountain, the hike, they buy pizza and drinks and it also attracts a lot of field trips from surrounding area school systems.”
But with Sleeping Giant closed, field trips to the pizzeria and ice cream shop around the corner have stopped too.
Banos added, “People come to see the beautiful foliage and that’s all gone as well as all the school buses and school trips.”
Improta said, “The local schools usually have a year-end field trip. New Haven does, Hamden does, Branford does, and they will come up and they will order a lot of pizzas and we often bring them to the park or they come here and it’s a big deal.”
Wentworth Ice Cream is keeping afloat with a steady stream of locals.
Banos told News 8, “Luckily, we have people come from far and wide here. We’ve been here a long time and it’s pretty well-known.”
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