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March 12, 2024

State board approves $3M to redevelop former Aetna diner in Hartford; $74.3M green-lighted overall for building projects across CT

Contributed The Aetna Diner at 267 Farmington Ave., Hartford.

A group created by state lawmakers to invest in distressed municipalities approved $3 million to help transform a long-shuttered Hartford diner into a community center Tuesday.

The Asylum Hill Neighborhood Association’s $3 million request for the 1,767-square-foot former Aetna Diner at 267 Farmington Ave. was among 27 proposals that were tentatively approved for $74.28 million in funding by the Community Investment Fund 2030 board Tuesday morning.

Chaired by State House Speaker Matthew Ritter and Senate President Pro Tempore Martin R. Looney, the board was created by state lawmakers in 2020 with the mandate to approve up to $875 million for community-building projects in distressed municipalities over five years.

“CIF funds can be a game changer and help restore vibrant and healthy communities," Ritter said in a released statement. "Here in Hartford we are seeing projects be earmarked with the resources they need to spark additional development and growth — projects like the Aetna/Comet Diner property, the Charter Oak Cultural Center, the Hartford Workforce Hub and the transformation of the blighted former Chester Bowles Park Housing into Willow Creek."

House Matt Ritter said,

Requests by municipalities and nonprofits that were approved by the Community Investment Fund 2030 Board still must pass the state Bond Commission.
Other items passed Tuesday include:

  • $5.75 million – for the “Rubber Avenue Corridor Revitalization” in Naugatuck. Funds will be used for stormwater drainage infrastructure to promote private investment.
  • $250,000 – for renovations to Camp Schade by the Boys and Girls Club of New Britain.
  • $8 million – for remediation of 20 acres of brownfields along Kossuth Street, Howe Street and Stratford Avenue and establishment of a sustainable waterfront with flood mitigation infrastructure under the Bridgeport Economic Development Corp. CIF funds will support public park aspects of the project.
  • $6.5 million – for renovation of Connecticut’s first synagogue on Charter Oak Avenue in Hartford. This project will allow the Charter Oak Cultural Center City School for the Arts to add eight classrooms and upgrade handicap accessibility.
  • $1.32 million – for sidewalk improvements and renovations of Elmwood Park in Danbury, as well as a neighborhood drainage study.
  • $250,000 – for planning to transform 20 acres in the distressed “Mount Pleasant – Myrtle Street Corridor” of New Britain into a sustainable community.
  • $2 million – for improvements to Howard T. Brown Park in Norwich.
  • $2.79 million – to help Click Inc. of Windham to renovate its kitchen, food processing and storage facilities, add office and community training space.
  • $2.13 million – to build a greenhouse on the Community Health Center Inc. greenhouse in Middletown.
  • $5.15 million – to help Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation Inc. perform studies and renovations at seven locally and nationally significant places in Bridgeport.
  • $2.75 million – for the Continuum of Care in New Haven to purchase its two facilities at 977 Ella grasso Boulevard and 163 Blake St., preserving 58 units of affordable housing.
  • $250,000 – to the Friends Center for Children in New Haven for a planning grant for community engagement and design of the Flint Street Family campus.
  • $250,000 – for Haven’s Harvest, in New Haven, to conduct a community engagement and feasibility study of its work in the Fair Haven neighborhood.
  • $1.62 million – for the completion of the 12-acre urban Lyman Allyn Park in New London.
  • $350,000 – for community engagement, a master plan and designs for renovations to the two sites of the New Haven Museum.
  • $900,000 – to support Northeast Neighborhood Partners Inc.’s development of a workforce hub in the Swift Factory in Hartford.
  • $3 million – for the streetscape improvements in Norwalk.
  • $5.52 million – for pre-development, site improvements and infrastructure for Willow Creek in Hartford under the Overlook Development Corp.
  • $3.44 million – to Sound Communities Inc. to replace 54 units of obsolete affordable housing with 55 modern units.
  • $2 million – for a new childcare building for the Thames Valley Council for Community Action in Groton.
  • $4 million – for improvements to Rockwell Park in Bloomfield.
  • $8.68 million – to support the development of 64 affordable housing units, a community facility and streetscape improvements around 2980 State St. in Hamden.
  • $3.5 million – to build a downtown library with surrounding street safety improvements in Manchester.
  • $250,000 – for community engagement toward creation of a master plan for Mansfield’s municipal facilities.
  • $250,000 -- to fund community engagement and a planning study for Plainfield’s Parks and Recreation Department.
  • $250,000 – to help the University of New Haven identify a West Haven site for its dental and healthcare clinic.

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