Bond Commission Approves Funds for Groton and Mystic Aquarium

May 12, 2017

“This is a long overdue investment in the city’s future and will also provide essential water service to surrounding communities”

HARTFORD, Conn. State Senator Heather Somers (R-Groton) released the following statement regarding the State Bonding Commission’s funding approval for two projects that will improve the quality of life in the City of Groton and the entire region.

“This is a long overdue investment in the city’s future and will also provide essential water service to surrounding communities,” saidSen. Somers. “These are the type of investments government must make to ensure public health and economic development.”

The commission approved $15 million in aid to the City of Groton to upgrade and rebuild the city’s water treatment plant and to support regional connections with five Southeastern Connecticut water authorities. According to the Office of Fiscal Analysis (OFA), the total cost of the entire project is $55 million. Groton Utilities has secured $40 million in funding from the federal Clean Water Fund Loan. The current facility is 78 years old and in dire need of major renovations.

The five participating water authorities to benefit from this upgrade are the Tower Ferry Division, Barrett Division, Gray Farms Division, Chriswood Division and Ledyard Center Division.

The commission also approved $5 million to another regional asset – The Mystic Aquarium – for a major expansion of its facility to draw more visitors. The grant-in-aid to Mystic/Sea Research Foundation, Inc. to build a 15,000-square foot facility for Conservation, Research and Education Center Building will allow for more exhibits. The new facility will be called the Milne Center for Ocean Science and Conservation.

The plan is to break ground in 2018, pending the successful completion of private fundraising. The facility will be adjoined to the Aquatic Animal Study Center. The first floor will feature a large area where animals will be acclimated before being settled into the new exhibit areas. The expansion is part of a decade-long commitment to spend $25 to $50 million improvements.

“Mystic Aquarium is one of Connecticut’s top destination showpieces,” said Sen. Somers. “These funds, that are more than matched by private donations, will keep visitors and tourist dollars flowing into our area. That means jobs and more opportunities for the entire region.”

Despite the state’s financial condition, Somers said both projects are critical to public health and commerce. Both projects have also leveraged the state investment with significant other revenue streams – both private and public.