Governor Dannel P. Malloy today announced the first round of 2014 Small Town Economic Assistance Program (STEAP) grants, a total of more than $2.4 million, will be awarded to Avon, Chester, Farmington, Milford, New Milford and Sprague. Administered by the Office of Policy and Management (OPM), STEAP provides funding for local capital improvement projects that support economic development, encourage community conservation and improve the quality of life for residents.
"Over the last three years, we have worked with our partners in towns across the state to identify and invest in important capital projects that are growing jobs and local economies, strengthening local infrastructure and encouraging business growth," said Governor Malloy. "STEAP has allowed us to get money directly to municipalities to complete projects that are benefiting residents now and helping small towns maintain the unique qualities that are a large part of what makes Connecticut such a great place to live, work and visit."
The following projects make up the first round of this year's STEAP grants, which were awarded in consideration of project readiness and impact on overall regional economic development. The STEAP grant award process will operate on a rolling basis with periodic award announcements throughout the year.
Avon: $450,000 for Village Center Streetscape Improvement Project
The Town of Avon applied for funding that would cover the last two phases of a four phase project that consists of installing handicap accessible sidewalks and decorative lighting in Avon Village Center. Both Phases Three and Four would go out to bid in early 2014 and construction would take place in the summer and fall of 2014.
"I am happy to see generous funding come to Avon. With this new support, we will be able to continue enhancing and extending our sidewalk system, making the town's commercial center more accessible to everyone," said State Senator Kevin Witkos (R-8). "I look forward to seeing the project completed and watching our community enjoy the transformed Village Center."
"This initiative on the part of the Town of Avon is just what the STEAP Award program is designed to facilitate," said State Representative Timothy B. LeGeyt (R-17). "Improvements such as the Village Center Streetscape Project will stimulate the local economy is many ways and therefore, the State award of $450,000 will make a positive contribution to life in the Town of Avon."
"The Town of Avon is very pleased with news of this award, which will allow us to complete the final phase of our Streetscape Improvement Project," said Avon Town Manager Brandon Robertson. "This project represents the best of public-private-partnerships in that the sources of funding were comprised of state aid, local funding and in-kind services, and charitable contributions from residents. The decorative lighting, granite curbing, and new sidewalks have positively impacted both the aesthetics and the navigability of our village center."
Chester: $450,000 for Chester Center Village Revitalization
This is Phase One of a Four Phase project to revitalize Chester Center Village. The master plan was completed in June 2013 and approved in July 2013 at a town meeting. The timeline for this project coincides with a ConnDOT bridge replacement project in the center of town set to begin in January 2016. Phase One construction would go out to bid May 2014 with construction beginning late June 2014 and ending in October 2014.
"I am grateful that Chester will receive this grant to help rebuild Main Street infrastructure. This effort will be realized because First Selectman Meehan, the Board of Selectmen, and John Divis of Public works have done their homework, including a lot of pre engineering and site work," said State Representative Philip Miller (D-36). "This meticulous preparation and the now granted funding will help assure an even better Main Street in Chester and I want to thank Governor Malloy for all he has done to make this happen."
"Chester is very pleased to receive $450,000 of STEAP funds for the first phase of our Town Center infrastructure improvements," said Chester First Selectman Ed Meehan. "This award is an example of Governor Malloy's recognition that maintaining the State and town infrastructure is essential to our economic vitality. Representative Phil Miller's firsthand knowledge and support of Chester's long range Center revitalization is very much appreciated."
Farmington: $500,000 for installation of athletic turf at Farmington High School
This project consists of installing a synthetic turf athletic field at FHS, including updating the existing subsurface drainage system to store and cleanse runoff from the field and diverting the runoff away from the path of the Farmington River. Other benefits include lower maintenance cost, increased playability, fewer injuries, potential for hosting CIAC events and tournaments
"I know Farmington residents have been strongly behind this project, which would benefit more than a thousand athletes in town, so I'm pleased to see the state partnering with Farmington," said State Senator Beth Bye (D-5). "It's a great investment for the community."
"A safe, useable field is vital to the health and physical education of Farmington High School students," said State Senator Terry Gerratana (D-6). "The STEAP grant awarded to Farmington will allow for the installation of a new field with proper safeguards to prevent runoff. This will ensure a high-quality environment where local sporting events can be enjoyed by all Farmington residents. I look forward to visiting the field once it has been completed and cheering on Farmington's student athletes."
"I am very pleased to see this project moving forward. A new athletic field is a sound investment in Farmington's athletic programs that will benefit student athletes for years to come," said State Representative Mike Demicco (D-21). "I would like to thank Governor Malloy, the Town of Farmington and The Friends of Farmington Field for bringing this dream closer to reality."
"On behalf of the Town of Farmington and the Friends of Farmington Field we could not be more excited to receive the $500,000 grant from the State of Connecticut," said Farmington Town Manager Kathleen Eagen. "This is a wonderful example of what can be accomplished when the State, Town and Community collaborate and work together for a common goal that benefits the entire community."
Milford: $500,000 for the design and reconstruction of the boardwalk connecting Silver Sands State Park and Walnut Beach
This project consists of designing, reconstructing and enhancing portions of a 1.5 mile long boardwalk running through the Beaver Brook nature preserve which was destroyed by two-day fire in April 2012. The damage was not covered by the Town's insurance. Platt Tech students will assist the town with this project.
"It was a terrible loss for the community when a brush fire severely damaged the boardwalk at Beaverbrook Park nearly two years ago," said Senator Gayle S. Slossberg (D-14). "With the state's support, we'll now be able to return the boardwalk to its former beauty. This is wonderful news for Milford residents."
"The STEAP funding will help restore an important City asset destroyed by fire so that residents and visitors can, once again, enjoy the beautiful hiking trails and boardwalk of the Beaverbrook preserve," said Milford Mayor Benjamin Blake. "I'd like to thank Milford's Open Space Manager, Steve Johnson, for spearheading the project and the Governor for this wise investment in our community."
New Milford: $448,334 for Downtown Village Center Streetscape
This project consists of reconstructing sidewalks to comply with ADA requirements and installing lighting and way-finder signage to make New Milford's Village Center more inviting and pedestrian friendly. The town estimates it will take 2-3 months for final design, engineering and permitting, 1-2 months for the bidding process and 2-3 months for construction.
"I'm very appreciative of the Governor's decision to award STEAP funding for improvements to New Milford's Village Center," said State Senator Clark Chapin (R-30). "This grant will go a long way to make the downtown area even more vibrant."
"This grant represents economic development in its truest form," said State Representative Cecilia Buck-Taylor (R-67). "This money will allow local leaders to move forward with a project that will transform our downtown into a destination--a location that will make investors, entrepreneurs, and tourists stand up and take notice."
"These improvements will boost the quality of life for New Milford residents by making the town safer and more inviting to the foot traffic needed to drive business and foster a sense of community," said State Representative Richard A. Smith (R-108). "This is a great investment in New Milford as we seek to cultivate economic development and enhance the value of the downtown area."
"We are incredibly excited and thankful that the governor acknowledged the value of this project," said New Milford Mayor Patricia Murphy. "When completed, the sidewalks on the north side of Bridge Street will provide our residents with a more pedestrian friendly, smoother, safer connection between our downtown and the recreation facilities on Young's Field Road."
Sprague: $500,000 for reconstruction and improvement of drainage on Pautipaug Hill Road
Phase One of a Two phase project. Pautipaug Hill Road has the largest concentration of residents than any other road in Sprague and is the access road to the recently reopened Pautipaug Hill Country Club. The project will address the deterioration of the road -- exacerbated by the flood in March 2010 - along with insufficient drainage capacity. Construction on Phase One of the project would conclude in the summer of 2014.
"This is a well needed infrastructure improvement that with a Town match will allow us to provide drainage and road base improvements on a major road in the Town of Sprague," said State Senator Catherine Osten (D-19). "The Town is thrilled to partner with the State on infrastructure that will provide benefit to residents and commercial interests."