HARTFORD, CT - Governor Dannel P. Malloy announced Monday Small Town Economic Assistance Program (STEAP) grants to ten Connecticut towns engaged in capital improvement projects. Andover, Berlin, East Haddam, East Hampton, Fairfield, Lyme, Somers, and Suffield are working on upgrades that will harden infrastructure, revitalize public spaces, and create jobs.
“STEAP grants are an excellent example of how state and local government partnerships can make meaningful improvements that directly benefit residents,” said Governor Malloy. “As we work to rebuild roads, repair bridges, and strengthen business centers in towns across the state, we are making Connecticut more competitive and a better place to work and live.”
Towns receiving STEAP awards:
Andover received a $175,000 STEAP award to replace the Times Farm Road Bridge. The bridge rating is listed as “critical”—it is preventing travel and could be closed if improvements are not made. The cost of this project will be subsidized with an 80 percent grant from the federal government.
"This is wonderful news—the bridge reconstruction will allow children to access the Times Farm Camp, which they currently cannot,” said State Senator Edith Prague (D-Andover). “If they don’t repair the bridge the camp is inaccessible, so this partnership between local, state, and federal government is critical."
Berlin received a $500,000 STEAP award for facade and landscape upgrades for town businesses, to improve street appearance, to stabilize and increase property values, and to help retain existing merchants and attract new businesses to the area. An estimated 50 jobs will be created or sustained.
“We thank Governor Malloy and the Berlin delegation for their work to secure this important funding,” said Mayor Adam Salina. “Berlin is committed to economic growth and bringing jobs to town—this STEAP grant will greatly assist our efforts.”
East Haddam received a $431,200 STEAP award to develop an agricultural business incubator and community farm. The Center for Community Agriculture at Harris farm will serve as an agricultural business incubator for new farmers, a technical resource for new and existing agricultural businesses, and a community farm for area residents. The town will engage the Middlesex County Farm Bureau, UConn Agricultural Extension Service, the 4-H Program, and the Vo-Ag program at Nathan Hale-Ray High School for technical resources and education. They estimate the community farm will support 20 full and part-time jobs.
"The state's commitment to community agriculture in East Haddam is a smart investment,” said State Representative Linda Orange (D-East Haddam). “Connecticut’s agricultural industry is contributes $3.5 billion to the state’s economy, supporting over 20,000 jobs."
“We are very pleased to receive funding for this project,” said First Selectman Mark Walter. “The Center for Community Agriculture will serve as an agricultural business incubator for new farmers, a technical resource for new and existing agricultural businesses, and a community farm for area residents. We have been planning this project for better than a year and are eager to bring this facility into operation to create jobs, grow our economy, and enhance food security.”
East Hampton received a $250,000 STEAP award to replace the roof of the Epoch Arts building and allow expansion of programming. Epoch Arts is a nonprofit organization that offers programs in film, music, theater, and art for youths in grades K-12. The building is on the historic registry and was a former brownfield site. It is now a model for development for other vacant factories and brownfield sites.
“It is through public/private partnerships like these that we will begin to see economic development, the support of our local youth, and the creation of East Hampton as one of the best places to live in Connecticut,” said Town Manager Michael Maniscalco. “We are all very appreciative of the support and look forward to the beginning of many partnerships to come.”
Fairfield received a $275,000 STEAP award to increase handicap accessibility at four coastal recreation centers: South Benson Marina, Southport Beach, Ye Old Yacht Yard, and Sasco Beach. Improvements to picnic areas, concession stands, and restrooms will make them ADA compliant. These efforts will also increase accessibility for the elderly and visitors with small children.
"Storm Sandy caused severe damage to some of Fairfield's most popular public pavilions, but our recovery is well underway,” said State Senator John McKinney (R-Fairfield). “Our delegation will continue to work for the funding Fairfield needs to complete its restorations. In the meantime, we are pleased to have secured this grant which will eventually make our beaches more accessible to all of our residents."
"I'm thrilled that Fairfield residents are going to see improvements to handicapped accessibility at the South Benson, Penfield, Jennings, and Sasco beach public facilities," said State Representative Kim Fawcett (D-Fairfield).
"Improving beach access for the disabled is a concern that has been voiced to me by many of my constituents. I am very happy we were able to receive this grant money to make those improvements for our local community,” said State Representative Brenda Kupchick (R-Fairfield).
“I am thrilled that Fairfield has been awarded this important grant. I am thankful to our state delegation for helping our town obtain this needed funding that will increase handicap accessibility at some of our widely-used coastal recreation sites,” said First Selectman Michael C. Tetreau.
Lyme received a $500,000 STEAP award to construct a new public library and renovate and expand the town hall. Both buildings have reached the end of their functional life spans in terms of ADA compliance, mechanical systems integrity, vault capacity, energy efficiency, and technology viability. During the 18 month construction period, the project will create 134 trade jobs. In addition, 27 administrative staffers will be needed to support the tradesmen, and 10 people will be needed to conduct testing and inspections during construction.
"Since their inception, the state's STEAP grants to local governments have made possible countless infrastructure improvements small towns would likely have been unable to afford otherwise," said State Senator Eileen M. Daily (D- Lyme, East Haddam, and East Hampton). "These three projects are just the latest examples and underscore the versatility municipal officials now have to consider a broad range of upgrade initiatives - we're certainly grateful for the favorable consideration of these grant applications for Lyme, East Haddam, and East Hampton."
“The Town of Lyme is extremely gratified to have been awarded a STEAP Grant. The project will create new jobs for its two year duration, and would not have been possible without full funding of our STEAP Grant application,” said First Selectman Ralph Eno. “On behalf of the town, I wish to offer our collective thanks to Governor Malloy, State Senator Eileen Daily, Representative Marilyn Giuliano, and the Office of Policy and Management for their efforts.”
Somers received a $500,000 STEAP award to replace six culverts and repave Mountain Road, a major collector road and a connector to the Town of Stafford. The historic road provides access to several neighborhoods and is essential for emergency vehicle access.
"These funds will help to ease the burden on Somers property taxpayers," said State Senator John A. Kissel (R-Somers). "This state assistance will bolster the local infrastructure while making area roads safer to travel for those who live, work, and do business in Somers."
"I am sure that the investment in the culverts will pay off over the coming years in saved maintenance money. Additionally, the repairs to the culverts will protect the wetlands and provide for safer driving conditions," said State Representative Penny Bacchiochi (R- Somers).
“We are absolutely thrilled and extremely thankful as this significant award enables us to improve our infrastructure and serves as the catalyst for the rest of the improvements to be made on Mountain Road,” said First Selectman Lisa Pellegrini. “The project benefits all commuters by eliminating washouts and prevents sediments from damaging the precious ecosystem of the wetlands and waterways, as well as ensuring emergency vehicles have access to the numerous residential subdivisions in the area.”
Suffield received a $250,000 STEAP award for roadway improvements on Canal Road, which serves a 120-bed skilled nursing facility. Canal Road also provides access to the Windsor Locks Canal State Park trail.
"I would like to thank the Governor's office for awarding this grant to Suffield,” said State Representative Elaine O’Brien (D- Suffield). “This money will enable the town to improve access to both the health care facilities and to the Windsor Locks Canal trail."
"These funds will help make important improvements to Canal Road," said State Senator John A. Kissel (R-Suffield). "Investing in the quality of our roads is essential to make sure that drivers can safely commute to and from work, school, and other locations throughout Suffield."
“The Town of Suffield is grateful for the STEAP grant. It will assist the town in repairing a road currently in very bad condition,” said First Selectman Edward G. McAnaney. “The road serves one of the town’s largest employers as well as being the northern entrance to the Windsor Locks Canal State Park. The grant will be a great benefit to the town.”