Governor Lamont Announces $34 Million in State Funding To Support Outdoor Recreation
(HARTFORD, CT) – Governor Ned Lamont announced the anticipated release of $34 million in state funding that will continue his administration’s priority of improving and increasing access to the outdoors for Connecticut residents in a number of ways.
Among the items that are expected to be approved at this Friday’s meeting of the State Bond Commission include:
- $15 million to support repairs, maintenance, and new construction at various Connecticut State Parks statewide. (This funding is part of $51.5 million in the adopted state budget to address the backlog of state park infrastructure improvements needed across the system, augmented by $21.5 million of American Rescue Plan Act funds.)
- $10 million to provide open space grants for conservation and recreation purposes.
- $9 million to support improvement and expansion of recreational trails, bikeways, greenways, pedestrian walkways, and more.
“As we reach the peak of our summer season, residents and visitors across Connecticut continue to seek out a respite in their state parks, which provide an incredible resource for those of us who live here,” Governor Lamont said. “We are making critical investments to ensure that these resources are maintained, and that visitors have the continued ability to access them, including through the Passport to the Parks program and ParkConneCT. We’ve also successfully staffed our waterfront and shoreline parks with lifeguards through an increase in wages that reflects the important service lifeguards provide. These are the kinds of investments that contribute to the incredible quality of life we enjoy in our great state.”
“Connecticut’s state parks are the gems of our state,” Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) Commissioner Katie Dykes said. “They are well loved by the public and became an important outlet for residents during the pandemic. As people continue to discover our parks, it’s critical that we invest in these spaces so that they can continue to be loved for generations to come. We’re grateful to Governor Lamont for his support in securing much-needed funding to maintain, repair, and improve our parks infrastructure. DEEP takes our role as stewards of 255,000 acres of state parks and forests very seriously, and we are thrilled that we will be able to continue to be stewards with this new funding.”
Connecticut has a significant amount of repair and refurbishment needed for its state parks, and with this investment that the Lamont administration is making DEEP will have an increased opportunity to make these upgrades. This is an opportunity catch up on some of that backlog in noticeable ways, such as the Heublein Tower, and not as noticeable ways like repairs to infrastructure that support maintenance activities and position Connecticut to take the greatest advantage of its resources.
In addition to this state funding, DEEP is also set to receive American Rescue Plan Act funds totaling $21.5 million, which will be used to achieve many objectives, including providing improved accessibility, improvements, and repairs to park amenities; increasing outdoor recreation and education; reducing DEEP’s infrastructure footprint; and improving water supply and sewage disposal associated with outdoor recreation facilities. The improved outdoor recreation amenities will provide healthy socialization and recreation opportunities for disproportionately impacted communities.