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December 7, 2022

State bond commission to consider tens of millions in economic development aid for key projects statewide

Contributed A proposed pedestrian bridge over Route 9 connecting Main Street in Middletown to the Connecticut River.

The state Bond Commission will vote Thursday on hundreds of millions of dollars in grants and funding for efforts and initiatives across the state, including $12 million for the city of Middletown’s ambitious plan to revive its industrial riverfront.

In Middletown’s case, the planned $12 million allocation was teed up by a new “Community Investment Fund” board led by state lawmakers.

The funding is meant to help the city further its plans to transform 220 acres of dormant industrial land along the Connecticut River with new parks, community spaces, restaurants, retail and multifamily development. The city has already spent more than $75 million decommissioning its sewage treatment plant, buying properties and repairing a shuttered riverside restaurant building.

Middletown’s plan anticipates its efforts will spark at least $300 million in private commercial and residential development.

The Bond Commission is scheduled to meet in a special session Thursday. Items placed on the agenda can be generally confident of passage. Aid to projects can additionally be subject to conditions required by the state Department of Economic and Community Development and other agencies.

Other municipalities are in line for big contributions for economic development including, among others:

  • Waterbury is up for $10 million to support demolition and soils cleanup at the former Anaconda American Brass site along its Freight Street corridor.
  • Hartford’s Asylum Hill Neighborhood Association is up for $1.2 million for a rehabilitation of the shuttered Aetna Diner.
  • Hartford’s Colt Gateway is up for $1.5 million for a low-interest loan supporting a $6.7-million conversion of commercial space in the development into 45 apartments.   
  •  International Hartford is up for $1.1 million to support renovating 681 Wethersfield Avenue into a year-round food truck court.
  • The North Hartford Collaborative is up for $4.5 million for planning grants to the Blue Hills Civic Association’s build out of a community center ($750,000); Rebuilding Together Hartford’s push for home improvements ($400,000); Upper Albany Neighborhood Revitalization Zone’s redevelopment of a former Salvation Army building ($1 million); and the Hartford Renaissance District’s Barbour Street Corridor home renovation program ($2.3 million).
  • Hartford’s Sheldon Oak Central Inc. is up for a $3.75 million low-interest loan for its 155-unit, mixed-income reconstruction of the Martin Luther King affordable housing complex.
  • East Hartford is up for a $2.5 million grant to support its purchase and redevelopment of the troublesome downtown Church Corners boarding house.  
  • The Capital Region Development Authority is up for $1.5 million for repairs at Rentschler Field in East Hartford and the Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford; another $5 million for repairs to its parking garages in Hartford; $2 million more for environmental monitoring and repairs to the Front Street District; and another $500,000 for improvements at the Connecticut Regional Market in Hartford.

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