Governor Dannel P. Malloy announced Small Town Economic Assistance Program (STEAP) grants to 10 Connecticut towns engaged in capital improvement projects - including Somers. Andover, Berlin, East Haddam, East Hampton, Fairfield, Lyme, and Suffield are also 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,” Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said in a release. “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.”
Somers received a $500,000 STEAP award to replace six culverts and repave Mountain Road, a major collector road and a connector to 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 Sen. John Kissel. “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 Rep. Penny Bacchiochi.
Somers First Selectwoman Lisa Pellegrini said that she is absolutely thrilled and extremely thankful.
“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,” she said. “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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.