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September 27, 2023

Municipalities, nonprofits to split $101.3M in state development grants

HBJ PHOTO | STEVE LASCHEVER Executive Director Will Wilkins stands in front of Real Art Ways’ 56 Arbor St. home, which it purchased and plans to renovate as part of a major expansion. It has been allocated $9 million from the Community Investment Fund.

Twenty-one municipalities and nonprofits are in line to split $101.3 million in state grant funds approved Tuesday by a board of leading Connecticut lawmakers and state agency heads.

Hartford’s Real Art Ways is now queued up for a $9 million state grant to upgrade its Hartford gallery, cinema and performance space. Waterbury is in line for a $7.7 million grant to help redevelop a blighted and demolished area near its city center into a neighborhood of 46 townhouses. Bridgeport is up for the biggest chunk, with $22.5 million targeted at demolishing an industrial building, opening up redevelopment prospects by its harbor.

The Community Investment Fund 2030 board, chaired by State House Speaker Matthew Ritter and Senate President Pro Tempore Martin R. Looney, approved the 21 grant applications.

The board’s actions still need the endorsement of Gov. Ned Lamont.

Created by state lawmakers in 2020, the Community Investment Fund Board has a mandate to approve up to $875 million for community-building projects in distressed municipalities over a five-year period.

It approved $76.4 million worth of projects in its first grant round last September, then another $98.52 million in March.

The board received 177 applications for its third round. Of those, 162 were eligible for consideration, and sought a combined $620 million in assistance.

These were whittled down to the 21 that received the board’s endorsement, including:

ADVOCACY TO LEGACY, INC ($250,000) – A planning grant for the “Home Roots Resource Center – One Stop Shop” project, renovations and improvements to a facility that houses minority-owned small businesses in Bloomfield.

ALBERTUS MAGNUS COLLEGE ($3.11 million) -- CIF funding will facilitate renovations and improvements to the Celentano Field, including turf, ADA compliant bleachers and sidewalks, bike racks and public restrooms, as well as an expansion of 1,500 square feet at Ralph Walker Skating Rink to complete a comprehensive renovation of the space.

BRASS CITY RESIDENCES ($7.72 million) -- CIF grant will go towards the West Grove Street Redevelopment, and construction of 46 affordable townhouses (including 10 supportive units), a community room and full reconstruction of the street and sidewalks of West Grove Street in Waterbury.

PSEG DEMOLITION ($22.5 million) -- to support demolition of the decommissioned PSEG coal-fired power plant in Bridgeport, removing a blight and re-connecting the city to its harbor.

CITY OF NEW HAVEN, Long Wharf Gateway District Redevelopment Phase I ($1 million) -- CIF grant will aid the pre-development activities and demolition of the former Gateway Community College building in support of the implementation of the City’s Gateway District on Sargent Drive.

CITY OF NEW HAVEN, Whalley Avenue Revitalization ($7 million) – The project will transform Whalley Avenue from a car-oriented avenue into a walkable, bikeable and livable mixed-use community. Funds will also provide gap financing to complete the development of 55 housing units, 49 of which will be affordable.

CITY OF NORWALK ($5.14 million) -- CIF grant will fund a new wastewater infrastructure project to address continuous and erratic flooding in the neighborhood. The project will separate the combined sanitary and storm system into a separate new storm drainage infrastructure.

CITY OF STAMFORD, Stamford Tech Hub TOD Project ($2.5 million) -- CIF grant funds elements of the pedestrian and transit-oriented development project focused on lower Atlantic Street.

EAST HARTFORD AFFORDABLE HOMES/NOW, Veterans Terrace III ($3 million) -- CIF grant funds will go towards the construction of the community facility that is an amenity for the 150-unit Veterans Terrance multi-family housing development. The project consists of a mix of affordable, workforce and market-rate units.

LYMAN ALLYN ART MUSEUM ($1.11 million) -- CIF grant funds will go towards elements of the multi-year transformation and revitalization of the museum’s campus, specifically the pedestrian entrance, pond, walkways, pollinator garden and bus stop.

REAL ART WAYS ($9.1 million) -- CIF grant funds will facilitate the expansion of Real Art Ways including additional cinema screens, live arts and educational spaces, renovated galleries, elevator and roof repair, allowing for the increase of public programming for youth and adults.

TOBACCO VALLEY DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION, Enfield Manor & Extension ($11.27 million) -- CIF grant funds will facilitate the demolition of the existing Enfield Manor & Extension, and construction of 99 new one-bedroom apartments and community space for elderly and disabled households.

TOWN OF BLOOMFIELD ($250,000) -- CIF planning grant will aid the town in planning for the redevelopment of Bloomfield Center. Specific activities will include a conditions assessment, community outreach and engagement, and establishing an implementation plan.

TOWN OF GRISWOLD ($8.7 million) -- CIF grant will fund a municipal water infrastructure project that will help to unlock more than 325 acres of commercial land along Route 164 and facilitate the Heritage River Village development, featuring 216 mixed-income housing units and 210 units of age-restricted housing, as well as new public facilities and a regional YMCA and child development center.

TOWN OF SCOTLAND ($581,000) -- CIF grant will complete the funding for the Town of Scotland’s renovation and rehabilitation of its historic town hall, which also serves as its only public community space. The project includes ADA accessibility and energy efficiency upgrades.

TOWN OF WINDHAM ($250,000) -- CIF Planning Grant will allow the town to assess the abandoned Mill #4 21-acre property for its economic development potential, including environmental Phase I, II, III assessments and remediation plans and to determine the highest and best use for the property.

TOWN OF WINDSOR ($4 million) -- CIF grant will help activate a long vacant parcel into a multi-dimensional park that provides an array of amenities to the neighborhood including sidewalks and trails, rain garden, habitat improvements, public art and other public spaces.

TOWN OF WINDSOR LOCKS ($4.85 million) -- CIF grant will fund Phase 1a and 1b of the town’s project. Phase 1a will complete a restoration of the historic train station including public restrooms for Hartford line riders and those connecting to Bradley International Airport. Phase 1b will be the acquisition of 255 Main St, adjacent to the train platform to provide a path for redevelopment into 75 units of transit-oriented, mixed-income housing.

TOWN OF VOLUNTOWN ($250,000) -- CIF planning grant will fund a water infrastructure planning project to create a shovel-ready proposal. Specific activities will include public engagement, design and engineering.

THE SHUBERT THEATRE, NEW HAVEN ($4.99 million) -- CIF grant will fund critical upgrades to the theatrical systems, HVAC and elevator. This grant will create a new performance space within the existing facility that will serve to provide a stage for local artists and community activity.

YWCA OF THE HARTFORD REGION ($4.2 million) -- CIF grant will fund a renovation of the existing facility to create a new Racial Justice and Gender Equity Center which will help prepare women for careers in high-demand tech industries, and youth development programming for girls, as well as entrepreneurship, financial literacy and other educational programming.

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