Senator Chapin: Small Town Grants Will Help Improve Our Communities [Litchfield County Times]

August 6, 2013

Article as it appeared in the Litchfield County Times on August 1, 2013

State awards STEAP grants to several Litchfield County towns

HARTFORD — Gov. Dannel P. Malloy announced a second round of Small Town Economic Assistance Program grants on Thursday, awarding funds to Canaan, Colebrook, Litchfield, North Canaan and Salisbury.

Twelve other towns also received grants, which can be used for certain capital improvement projects, including road maintenance, public works upgrades, public safety improvements and other municipal service projects, according to a release from Malloy’s office.

“STEAP grants give us the opportunity to invest in quality of life improvements in small towns across our state. Projects like road and bridge enhancements and improvements to public spaces and historic places make our small towns better places to live and work,” Malloy said in a statement. “These STEAP grants will assist small towns in completing important capital projects that otherwise may never get financed.”

A first round of grants were announced last month and included funding to replace the roof on Bull’s Bridge in Kent and to improve the Farmington River trail in Burlington.

“These grants are an important and effective way for the state to help our small towns improve so many aspects of their communities,” Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman added. “As towns face enormous pressure to limit spending in their municipal budgets, these funds are critical to upgrade both infrastructure and quality of life for their residents.”

Canaan received $200,000 to repair, stabilize and preserve the South Canaan Meeting House. It was built in 1804 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The meeting house hosts community events and is part of the Iron Heritage Trail and the Upper Housatonic Valley National Heritage Area.

“Standing tall for over two hundred years, the South Canaan Meeting House has provided residents with an opportunity to gather and host countless community events,” State Sen. Clark Chapin (R-New Milford) said. “With this assistance, the Meeting House will be repaired and preserved for generations to come.”

“I am very pleased Governor Malloy has announced STEAP grants for Salisbury, Canaan and North Canaan,” State Rep. Roberta Willis (D-Salisbury) said. “STEAP grants represent an important investment that enable small towns in our region of the state to pay for important local projects that they otherwise may not be able to undertake because of the cost.”

A grant of $77,500 to Colebrook will be used to complete building renovation and exterior painting at the Colebrook Historical Society Museum. The project was started by a previous STEAP grant.

“The Colebrook Historical Society is a foundation to the community, and it’s great to see a STEAP grant come in and help complete a longstanding project,” State Rep. Jay Case (R-Winchester) said. “I applaud the Governor and his administration for recognizing the project as an important one to the state of Connecticut. It’s well-deserved funding that will help bring in more tourism to our area, and in turn, will help other small businesses in the surrounding area.”

Litchfield received a $160,000 grant to upgrade the Bantam Fire Company through renovations to the washroom to add shower facilities and to make it ADA-compliant. The upgrades will allow the building to be used as a long-term emergency shelter.

“The Bantam Fire Company has provided the community with fire safety and rescue services for nearly 100 years,” Chapin said. “Thanks to this investment, the Fire Company building will continue their valuable legacy and be able to serve as a new long-term emergency shelter for Bantam residents.”

The Canaan Union Station in North Canaan will get $400,000 for a restoration project. The historic station was damaged by arson in 2001 and since then, the town has worked to obtain local, state and federal funding to restore the facility. It will house offices, a restaurant and museum to recognize the train station’s history. The project will add about 40 construction jobs for one year and 20 permanent jobs.

“Finally, the Canaan Union Station will now be restored to its former beauty,” Chapin said. “I am thankful that this funding will create new opportunities for office space, a restaurant and a museum highlighting the building’s role in the town’s history.”

A grant of $500,000 to Salisbury will be used to remediate a former dry cleaning facility. The location is currently blighted and a health hazard. The property, once cleaned up, will be converted from commercial to residential and affordable housing will be built there.

“Cleaning up contaminated properties continues to be a major priority of mine,” Chapin said. “Thanks to this funding, Salisbury will see one more property cleaned up and put to good use.”

The other towns receiving funding in this round are: Bethel, Canterbury, Clinton, Darien, Deep River, Ellington, Glastonbury, Montville, Seymour, Sherman, Wallingford and Westbrook.