local pg 1 5-18-23

Local trails get a boost
Five local Recreation Trail Programs are part of the $9 million state grant list recently announced.
The grants go toward, planning, building, expending and improving a total of 50 multi-use trails across the state.
Local programs on the list include:
— Putnam – $175,000 - Air Line Trail Connection and Improvements Project – Planning/Design, Construction, Maintenance, Publications, Outreach
— Thompson - $457,500 – STILL More Than Just a Train Wreck – Construction, Amenities
— Wyndham Land Trust - $24,000, Parking for Bull Hill Preserve – Planning/Design, Construction, Outreach.
— East Hampton - $404,800 – Air Line Trail Cap Phase 4 – Planning/Design Construction
— Plainfield - $10,000 – Kate Downing Road Open Space – Planning/Design.
The program is administered by the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP). Funding for this grant round was allocated by the State Bond Commission in July 2022. Governor Ned Lamont is chairman of the commission. The Connecticut Greenways Council assisted DEEP with the competitive grant selection process. Funding for program administration of 5%, pursuant to state statutes, is also included in the grants. DEEP anticipates most of the awarded projects being completed by 2026.
DEEP has seen demand for outdoor recreation increase dramatically since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020. Annual visits to locations in the Connecticut State Parks and Forests system reached an estimated 17 million in 2022 — a 75 percent increase from pre-pandemic visitation levels of between 9 and 10 million in 2019.
“These projects are timely and will improve our state’s connectivity and accessibility to open space, which benefits our residents and visitors physically and mentally, enhances our state’s outdoor economy, and makes our state such an attractive place to live,” DEEP Commissioner Kate Dykes said. “Investing in projects that support sustainable commuting opportunities, that reduce pollution from transportation, and provide safe, enjoyable alternatives to car travel are the type of projects we’d love to see in more communities across the state. My thanks to Governor Lamont and the State Bond Commission for supporting these important investments in our state-wide trail systems.”
A total of 28 of the awarded projects are within or serve Connecticut’s distressed municipalities and environmental justice communities, improving equitable access to outdoor recreation. Many of the awarded projects are bicycle paths that can support both commuting and recreation, including Naugatuck Greenway Projects in Naugatuck, Ansonia, Thomaston, Waterbury, and the Greenwich-Stamford multi-use path, among others. The grant money can be allocated for a wide variety of purposes, including planning, design, land acquisition, construction, construction administration, and publications for bikeways, walkways, and greenways, as well as for equipment and trail amenities, such as parking lots, toilet buildings, signs, and benches.


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