Town of Redding receives $300,000 for construction of their first section of the Norwalk River Valley Trail

The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) today received $36.8 million in State Bond Commission funding that will be used to fund a variety of important projects and initiatives.

The Town of Redding received $300,000 for construction of their first section of the Norwalk River Valley Trail. The design for the trail is complete and was paid for via private community donations.

The funding will be utilized for needed infrastructure repairs and new building projects; open space acquisitions; energy efficiency improvements to state buildings; and a grant program that constructs, maintains, and improves access to recreational trails around the state.

DEEP received the following funding from the State Bond Commission Friday:

  • $14 million for various projects to improve energy efficiency in state buildings.
  • $11.8 million for infrastructure projects including construction of a new DEEP Western District Headquarters in Black Rock State Park.
  • $7.5 million for open space acquisitions under the State Recreation and Natural Heritage Trust Program.
  • $3 million for a new grant round under the Connecticut Recreational Trails Program.
  • $500,000 for repairs to be made at Hurd State Park Dam, and for inspection of various dams.

"If Connecticut residents didn't know before the pandemic how important our trails and conservation projects were before the COVID-19 pandemic, they do now." said Governor Lamont. "These projects will provide safer, cleaner, and more modern outdoor space for residents and visitors to participate in enjoyable, healthy activities. I'm also pleased that we're moving forward with a number of clean energy projects to help our state become more sustainable, and plan for the future."

“The funding provided today by the SBC represents a historic investment in our environment—combatting the climate crisis, reducing energy consumption in state buildings, and investing in clean water infrastructure, land conservation, and recreational trails,” DEEP Commissioner Katie Dykes said. “I’m grateful to the Bond Commission and Gov. Lamont for supporting these important investments, which will benefit Connecticut’s citizens and our natural environment for generations to come.”

Here are a few of the recent projects/initiatives funded through State Bond funding:

Energy Efficiency in State Buildings:

Since 2012, Connecticut has used bond funding under the “Lead By Example” program to complete over 72 projects that cumulatively save $5.2 million in annual utility costs and 113,991 MMBTUs of energy. An additional 29 projects are underway, projected to save $3.1 million in annual utility costs and 16M kilowatt hours, or 492K MMBTUs.

The $14 million approved today will support energy efficiency and water conservation improvements in state government facilities. These projects help fulfill Governor Lamont’s first Executive Order requirements for all state agencies to meet reduction goals in greenhouse gas emissions (GHG), water use and waste generation. These priority projects were identified through comprehensive building audits. Together, they are projected to reduce executive branch agency GHG emissions by about 1% and water use by at least 10%, as measured from the state’s FY19 baseline.

Construction projects:

-DEEP Marine Headquarters, Old Lyme (Bond Commission support: $800,000)

Recently improvements were completed at the Marine Headquarters boat basin/marina complex. The site is homeport for the 50-foot research vessel John Dempsey and for the Marine District Law Enforcement Division. Work completed includes dredging of the boat basin and total replacement of the 25-year-old docking system with a best-in-class floating concrete dock system including on-dock lighting and water supply. Critical repairs to the very popular adjacent fishing pier open to the public were also completed as part of this comprehensive project.

-Gillette Caste State Park, East Haddam (Bond Commission support: $980,000)

Significant improvements were recently completed at Gillette Castle State Park including the replacement of a failed section of stone retaining wall as well as the stone lined stairs along the main access leading to the castle. The section of wall and stairs are both prominent landscape features and the recently completed work blends seamlessly with the historic castle and adjacent grounds.

Open Space Acquisitions:

Land conservation is critical in the fight against climate change, protecting ecosystems that are sequestering carbon and improving the quality of our air, water, and natural resources. It also protects wildlife habitat, and offers incredible recreation opportunities to our residents. Open space is also key to ensuring a bright economic future for our state, helping to attract and retain residents who are increasingly looking for varied recreational opportunities where they work, play, and live.

In the past year, DEEP has been able to acquire a few properties using State Recreation and Natural Heritage Trust Program (RNHTP) funds as a match for federal funds or exclusively to buy property.

-In August 2020, DEEP acquired the 85.37-acre Thompson property in Lyme for $310,000. The entire acquisition was funded with RNHTP funds. The land was a key addition to the entrance of the Nehantic State Forest.

-In March 2021, DEEP acquired the 74.75-acre Syzmanski property on the Torrington-Winchester town line. The purchase price was $220,000 with 50% coming from a federal Highlands grant and 50% coming from RNHTP funds. The property significantly enhances access to the abutting Paugnut State Forest.

-In April 2021, DEEP acquired the 30.63-acre White property in Pomfret. Purchased for $200,000, the entire funding was from RNHTP. The land is a mix of fields and forest, and was added to the Meshamoquet Brook State Park.

-In May 2021, DEEP acquired the 627.12-acre Beech Hill Road LLC property in Goshen. This is one of the largest acquisitions by DEEP in recent years. The purchase price was $2,450,000 with 50% coming from a federal Highlands grant and 50% from RNHTP funds. The property greatly expands the Goshen Wildlife Management Area.

Recreational Trail Improvements:

Recent projects funded through the Connecticut Recreational Trails Program, which provides funding for projects that include planning and design of trails; construction of new trails; maintenance and restoration of existing recreational trails; access to trails by persons with disabilities; purchase and lease of trail construction and maintenance equipment; acquisition of land or easements for a trail, or for trail corridors; and operation of educational programs to promote safety and environmental protection as related to recreational trails; include:

-The Town of Colchester received $47,776 for construction of a link between the Goodwin Trail and the Air Line State Park Trail.

-The Town of South Windsor received $100,000 for design of the Crosstown Trail, a 6.2-mile multi-purpose off-road trail.

-The Town of Redding received $300,000 for construction of their first section of the Norwalk River Valley Trail. The design for the trail is complete and was paid for via private community donations.

Dam Repairs/Inspections:

The bond funds allocated today for state dams will go toward designing repairs to a dam in Hurd State Park, inspection of state-owned dams, and repair of state-owned dams. The top of the dam in Hurd State Park serves as an access road through the park. Repair of this dam will help assure access through the park and prevent the dam from overtopping during high flows. Funds will also be used to inspect over 50 state owned dams. Dams are required to be inspected by state statutes and regulations. These funds will help DEEP stay in compliance with dam safety regulations and assure the safety of downstream property. The remaining funds will be used to effectuate repairs to state owned dams on an as needed basis.

Previous bond funds have been used to repair the Sucker Brook flood control system in Winchester. The Sucker Brook flood control system was damaged by heavy rain in the Fall of 2018. Repairs to Sucker Brook flood control system were completed in Summer 2020.