Gov. Lamont announces $34 million in federal funding to support outdoor recreation
(HARTFORD, CT) – Gov. Ned Lamont today announced the expected release of $34 million in state funds to support his administration’s priority of improving and expanding access to nature for Connecticut residents in a variety of ways. is continued.
Items expected to be approved at this Friday’s State Bond Commission meeting include:
- $15 million to support repairs, maintenance, and new construction at various Connecticut State Parks across the state. (This funding is part of $51.5 million in the approved state budget to address the backlog of state park infrastructure improvements required throughout the system, supplemented by $21.5 million of funds from the state American Rescue Plan Act.)
- $10 million to provide open space grants for conservation and recreation purposes.
- $9 million to support the improvement and expansion of recreational trails, bike lanes, greenways, pedestrian walkways and more.
“As we reach the peak of our summer season, residents and visitors across Connecticut continue to seek a break in their state parks, which represent an incredible resource for those of us who live here.” said Governor Lamont. “We are making important investments to ensure these resources are preserved and visitors continue to have access to them, including through the Passport to the Parks program and ParkConneCT. We have also successfully staffed our waterfront and shoreline parks by increasing wages that reflect lifeguards’ important service. These types of investments contribute to the incredible quality of life we enjoy in our great state.”
“Connecticut’s state parks are the jewels of our state,” Katie Dykes, Commissioner of the Department for Energy and the Environment (DEEP).. “They are very popular with the public and have become a key focal point for residents during the pandemic. As people discover more of our parks, it’s critical that we invest in these spaces so they can continue to be loved for generations to come. We are grateful to Governor Lamont for his assistance in raising much-needed funds to maintain, repair and improve our park infrastructure. DEEP takes our role as stewards of 255,000 acres of state parks and forests very seriously, and we are excited to continue being stewards with this new funding.”
Connecticut has significant repair and renovation needs for its state parks, and with this investment being made by the Lamont administration, DEEP will have a greater opportunity to make those upgrades. This is an opportunity to catch up on some of that backlog in a tangible way, such as: such as the Heublein Tower, and less conspicuous avenues such as infrastructure repairs that support maintenance activities and enable Connecticut to make the most of its resources.
In addition to this federal funding, DEEP will also receive American Rescue Plan Act funding totaling $21.5 million to be used to achieve many goals including providing improved accessibility, improvements and repairs to park facilities; increasing outdoor recreation and education; reducing DEEP’s infrastructure footprint; and improvement of water supply and sanitation associated with outdoor recreation facilities. The improved outdoor recreation facilities provide healthy socialization and recreation opportunities for disproportionately affected communities.
For more information on Connecticut State Parks, see portal.ct.gov/DEEP/State-Parks/Listing-of-State-Parks.
For more information about ParkConneCT, visit portal.ct.gov/DEEP/State-Parks/Park-Connect.
For more information on the Passport-to-the-Parks program, visit portal.ct.gov/DEEP/State-Parks/Passport-to-the-Parks.
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