State Legislators Applaud Ribbon Cutting for Pickett Lane Culvert

November 21, 2014
(Left to Right) State Senator Len Fasano, Board of Selectman Member Dr. Steve Levy, First Selectwoman Laura Francis, State Senator Ed Meyer, Representative Noreen Kokoruda, Representative Vincent Candelora, Board of Selectmen Member John Szewczyk

(Left to Right) State Senator Len Fasano, Board of Selectman Member Dr. Steve Levy, First Selectwoman Laura Francis, State Senator Ed Meyer, Representative Noreen Kokoruda, Representative Vincent Candelora, Board of Selectmen Member John Szewczyk

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Project to Mitigate Flooding of Allyn Brook Completed Thanks to Legislative Support

Durham – State senators Len Fasano (R-34) and Ed Meyer (D-12), along with representatives Vincent Candelora (R-86) and Noreen Kokoruda (R-101), applauded the completion of an infrastructure improvement project that will mitigate the flooding of Allyn Brook in Durham. The legislators attended the ceremonial ribbon cutting on Pickett Lane on Thursday November 20 to celebrate the accomplishment.

The town of Durham was awarded a $500,000 Small Town Economic Assistance Program (STEAP) grant from the state of Connecticut to repair and expand a culvert at Pickett Lane in July 2013. This is an especially important project to the town because Pickett Lane is the access road serving Coginchaug Regional High School (CRHS) and the Francis Korn Elementary School. CRHS is used for the town’s emergency shelter which has been activated several times in recent years servicing hundreds of people from the towns of Durham and Middlefield.

“I am very excited to see this much needed project come to fruition thanks to the hard work of many town officials and First Selectwoman Laura Francis. It’s crucial that we protect our local roads from flooding, especially the roads that lead to our schools and emergency shelters. This is a very happy day for Durham,” said Sen. Len Fasano (R-34).

“The Pickett Lane Culvert Project has been an ongoing issue for area residents, serving as the main access road to parks, fields, schools and emergency shelter,” Rep. Noreen Kokoruda (R-101) said. “I’m pleased at the completion of this project; but also that the state directed this competitive grant funding to our community to improve the public safety of such a highly utilized road.”

The total project cost approximately $980,000. The Town of Durham received two other STEAP awards for this project: $200,000 in fiscal year 2010 and $150,000 in fiscal year 2011.

“Thanks to this funding, the Pickett Lane Culvert Project is now complete. Without these grants our small towns would be unable to improve so many important aspects of their communities,” Rep. Vincent Candelora (R- 86) said.

“The culvert at Picket Lane is a vital piece of infrastructure that is important to the everyday commute of local schoolchildren, and is even more important in the event of a weather event that would cause Durham to open its emergency shelter at CRHS,” said Sen. Ed Meyer (R-12). “With the multiple destructive weather events that have impacted Connecticut in recent years, it has become increasingly critical that roads to the emergency shelter be able to meet the needs of the people of Durham and Middlefield should they be in need of shelter. I am very grateful for the state funding that made this possible, and the people whose hard work completed this project in a timely manner.”

The replacement and expansion of the Pickett Lane culvert was recommended by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) after significant flooding occurred in 2008, but requests for additional funding made by the town of Durham and its legislative delegation were rejected in 2011 and 2012.

In 2013, redistricting brought a new legislative delegation to Durham that advocated for the much anticipated project. Along with First Selectwoman Francis and the governor’s office, the legislators secured the STEAP grant needed to allow CTDEEP and the Army Corps of Engineers finish the project.

“I appreciate the assistance of our entire state delegation for their support of our application,” said First Selectwoman Francis. “The STEAP program gives small towns such as Durham the ability to fund improvements to critical infrastructure such as the Pickett Lane culvert.”

The Connecticut Small Town Economic Assistance Program (STEAP) provides financial assistance for projects that encourage economic development and preserve the character of the state’s less populated towns.