The COMO Legacy
The Stonington Community Center, affectionately nicknamed the COMO, was established as a nonprofit over 70 years ago to aid in the physical, social, mental and personal growth of the young people and adults of the local community. Since then, the COMO has grown to include the main building, two athletic fields, tennis courts, paddle tennis courts, a children's garden, playground, pond, duBois beach, Sandy Point beach, a pottery studio, and the ever-popular Thrift shop. Families benefit from COMO community events, youth and adult programming, award-winning childcare and the continually expanding facilities that serve as community meeting space.
The first meeting of the Stonington Community Center took place on July 16, 1945 leading to the opening of the Stonington Community Center building in Ambulances Corps Hall on April 1, 1946 .
In April 1957, the Stonington Community Center continued to grow with the addition of two new tennis courts on Cutler Street and the purchase of Owen's Field.
Once again the Stonington Community Center was getting too big for its needs and a new building was built that opened on November 15, 1969. The new building housed the Doris Muller Preschool, a large gymnasium, an auditorium and several classrooms. The final acquisition of property happened on March 15, 1974 when the property that houses the Annex and Thrift Shop was acquired.
The most recent addition to the COMO Campus is a full Paddle Tennis Court, bringing Paddle Tennis back to the Stonington Community. Thanks to the generous donations from friends of the Stonington Community Center, and led by the efforts of the COMO Platform Tennis Advisory Group (PTAG), the $250,000 project included two aluminum platform tennis courts, along with heaters, lights, viewing deck, and warming hut.
The COMO also has also beautified the campus even further, with the addition of the Children's Garden, which was done in partnership with the Stonington Garden Club in 2007.
Additionally, in partnership with the Stonington Village Improvement Association, in 2015 we undertook a project to restore the pond in front of the COMO to its original state. With the assistance of the DEEP, we are planning to remove the invasive reed, known as phragmites, in order to help restore the natural ecosystem to this area. The area will be able to be used for science programs for the kids, as well as skating for the community. For more information on this ongoing project, visit the phragmite removal page.
The mission of the Stonington Community Center is “helping neighbors become friends and helping friends work together, the COMO engages residents, businesses, and community groups in building a strong, vibrant community.”
The name "COMO" comes from a nickname given to the community center by children and teenagers that frequented the building. The first reference to the nickname appears in a newspaper article from 1950 that highlights a baseball game between the Stonington COMO's and the Old Mystic Baseball Club.