(HARTFORD, CT) – Governor Ned Lamont and Connecticut Housing Commissioner Seila Mosquera-Bruno today announced that the state is awarding $13.3 million to 12 municipalities in Connecticut for infrastructure upgrades that will modernize and rehabilitate housing for low and moderate-income individuals.
Awarded through the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Small Cities program, which is administered by the Connecticut Department of Housing with funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, eligible projects must be in a municipality with fewer than 50,000 residents and have a focus on improving neighborhoods, eliminating blight, and attracting economic development.
“These grants go a long way toward improving neighborhoods so that we can make our communities more attractive and encourage continued growth for the benefit of all of our residents,” Governor Lamont said. “They also create good jobs at good wages that help keep people employed across our state.”
“These awards will help to improve the lives of our Connecticut neighbors,” Commissioner Mosquera-Bruno said. “Whether it is helping a family to complete essential renovations on their homes such as repairing a leaking roof, making a public housing living facilities ADA compliant, or improving fire safety or improvements to a waste water treatment facilities, CDBG Small Cities funding is an important program. These funds provide flexibility in our toolbox, allowing us to assist municipalities in leveraging different resources together.”
The recipients of this round of CDBG Small Cities grants is as follows:
Jewett City – Improvements for Waste Water Treatment Plant ($1,000,000):
This is a state-of-the-art facility that processes over 275,000 gallons of raw sewage daily The proposed program is an infrastructure project that will provide funding to perform flood control measures at the Jewett City Wastewater Treatment Plant. A concrete wall along the Quinebaug River will be constructed and the elevation of the access road will be raised. This project is of major concern to the citizens of Jewett City because in 2010, the facility was nearly lost to flooding that occurred due to torrential rains where over 13 inches of rain fell within a 30-hour time period.
During that time, the river water breached its banks and encroached onto the grounds of the plant to a depth of four to six feet in areas abutting the buildings. The flood control wall will alleviate any such future hazard. Borough Warden Tim Sharkey said when he heard about the grant “it’s been going on over 10 years and a much needed project to protect our waste water facility. About 10 years ago we had some serious flooding, water was coming in faster they could pump it.” Jim Barnie, member of the Economic Development Committee as well as the Capital Improvement Committee said “I just talked to Tim this morning and we hadn’t heard anything about it, it’s great news! The day of the flood, which saved our facility, the National Guard brought in 2 fire pumpers that pumped the water back into the Quinebaug and that’s what saved our facility. Griswold public works, waste water facility workers, all worked 36+ hours stacking sandbags and then called in the national guard for help with the sandbags, that’s when they brought in the fire pumpers.
According to Jewett City Department of Public Utilities Dir, Ken Sullivan “We were lucky in the respect that when we called DEEP for the National Guard to assist, they were stationed in New London at the time and weren’t even supposed to be there. They were able to make it to us within an hour. There were apparently supposed to be in Stratford. Also, we were lucky that the river peaked and the flood started slowing down. Sullivan went on to say that they could have lost the facility and would have had to pump raw sewage into the Quinebaug River. He also stated that with the help of the National Guard, they were able to make in roads by 9 AM and had it under control by noon the following day after being in 4-5 feet of water at one point.
When hearing about the grant, Sullivan immediately wanted to thank personally Jewett City borough warden Tim Sharkey “who fought very hard for this grant in Jewett City as well as Miguel Rivera, a Director with the Department of Housing, who advocates for grants, also was a big help in obtaining this grant.
Both Sharkey and Sullivan echoed each others comments, “That was a long day.”
Other towns that received block grants are listed below –
- Ansonia – Housing Rehabilitation Program ($400,000): This project has the goal of making health and safety improvements to the homes of low and moderate-income community residents at a reasonable cost. The project repairs will allow for more decent, safer, and sanitary conditions that will address the needs of 12 to 20 households with code violations (site and building defects). Highly distressed homes with health and safety concerns and/or life-threatening conditions will be prioritized. Energy efficiency improvements will include roof repair and replacements, siding replacements, insulation, HVAC replacements, window and door replacements, plumbing and electrical upgrades, and more. Accessibility modifications to include the installation or repair of ramps, sidewalks, handrails, kitchens, and bathrooms.
- Cheshire – Modernization of Beachport Apartments ($1,500,000): This project will modernize the fire alarm and emergency call-for aid system, allowing all the buildings to be monitored individually and collectively even in the event of loss of power. The system is capable of providing the exact location of the call identifying the building, unit, and room; and the device type that was activated. This information will then available to the fire department and first responders in real time. Additionally, the kitchens in 43 units will be renovated to include the installation of new cabinets and countertops, vented exhaust fans, sinks, faucets, LED lights, and new flooring throughout. The site work and safety measures include replacing sidewalks that have become hazardous to the residents and guests. An additional 15 parking spaces will be created to accommodate the residents, staff in and visitors. Currently there are only 40 parking spaces for 48 units and 52 residents.
- Coventry – Modernization of Orchard Hill Estates ($1,500,000): The property currently suffers from ponding behind the buildings and requires the installation of two drywells and the creation of drainage swales behind two identified residential buildings. Additional major issues and concerns include but are not limited to: rotted wood and rusted metal in the building structure, entry and storm doors will be upgraded to meet energy efficiency, and ADA requirements. Kitchen assemblies (cabinets, countertops) will be replaced together with new Energy Star rated refrigerators and stoves, and new hot water heaters. A new emergency backup up generator for the entire campus will also be installed, and repairs made to wooden garbage sheds. A majority of residents at Orchard Hills utilize canes, walkers, and wheelchairs, because of mobility challenges, therefore, any remaining funds will be used to repair and replace curbing and large areas of heaving and cracking throughout the campus.
- East Hampton – Modernization of Chatham Acres and Bellwood Court ($1,500,000): This project will provide needed capital improvements to 70 units of affordable elderly and disabled housing. Activities include the installation of a fully integrated emergency call-for-aid system, which will allow all the buildings to be monitored individually and collectively even in the event of loss of power. The system will be capable of providing the exact location of the call identifying the building, unit, and room; and the device type that was activated. This information will then be available to the fire department and first responders. Other improvements will include thermal envelope upgrades throughout the campus, such as window and door replacements. ADA upgrades will be made to the community room, bathrooms will be remodeled, and architectural barriers will be removed from the laundry room. Overall, these improvements will provide a more sustainable livable environment for the community residents.
- Kent – South Commons Capitol Improvement ($800,000): This project will provide needed capital improvements to all units of affordable elderly and disabled housing. Activities include repairs to sump pits and installation of new sump pumps in each building; removal and replacement of the exiting boilers; removal and replacement of the hot water heaters in all the units identified for upgrade; installation of combination exhaust fan/LED lighting in all bathrooms; and removal and replacement of the kitchen flooring with new low VOC emitting luxury vinyl tile and rubber base. Site work will be completed based on remaining and available funds.
- Ledyard – Modernization of King’s Corner Manor ($1,500,000): The purpose of this project is to provide needed capital improvements to the existing 30-unit affordable senior housing development. This 40-year-old building will be equipped with new windows, doors, and mini-split systems for improved air conditioning and heating, which will improve the overall thermal envelope. ADA improvements to bathrooms include the conversation of all existing tubs to roll-in showers, the installation of energy efficiency fan and lighting kits, and the installation of modern hardware to increase ease of use as well as the improved safety and security throughout. Once completed, these improvements will create more accessibility for residents and at the same time maintain sustainability and affordability for the residents.
- Mansfield – Improvements of Fire Protection Equipment ($735,927.84): This project includes the fire protection equipment purchase of hybrid aerial/pumper truck to replace the existing 2004 pumper truck currently located at Station 207 in Four Corners. The need for aerial capabilities is based on the following: Improving the safety of fire fighters extinguishing fires in multi-story structures as well as performing rescue activities; and recent completion of sewer and water extensions to the Four Corners that will enable redevelopment at a higher intensity, including new multi-story, mixed-income residential development.
- Naugatuck – Cherry Street Area Flood and Drainage Control ($1,000,000): The proposed scope of work is intended to improve the drainage characteristics of the watershed area above the Cherry Street neighborhood. This will mitigate chronic flooding of the area during severe rainstorm events. The water diverted would be directed to an existing drainage ditch, which will be improved and relined with rip-rap and stone check dams to slow the velocity of the water and dissipate its energy. The project will greatly benefit the neighborhood by reducing if not eliminating the possibility of future property flooding.
- Plymouth – Gosinski Park ADA Renovation ($1,500,000): The existing housing facilities at Gosinski Park lack adequate and suitable accommodations for people who are physically challenged. The funding makes way for needed upgrades to the existing 60-unit complex to one more suited for the elderly and disabled individuals with ADA compliance improvements throughout unit interiors and common areas. Work includes increased insulation to units, addition of fire separation to attics, replacement of hot water heaters, and adapting five housing units to achieve full ADA code compliance by expanding the footprint of these selected units to meet current requirements for bathrooms, kitchens, and bedrooms. The common building will also be made fully ADA accessible by enlarging the community room, expanding bathrooms, and providing ADA access and travel throughout the common areas of the buildings.
- Putnam – Putnam Housing Rehabilitation Program ($400,000): The Town of Putnam has rehabilitated many housing units over the last 20 years and is receiving additional funds to rehabilitate another 10 or more housing units. The town is also using Program Income funds to complete an additional five units. Many low to moderate-income families are financially unable to afford the excessive costs for necessary health and safety code related violations. The funds received will assist homeowners with the expenses associated with lead paint testing/remediation (as needed), radon testing/remediation (as needed), energy efficiency improvements, such as replacement of roofs, windows, and doors; and heating/cooling systems, plumbing, and electrical upgrades. This Housing Rehabilitation Program will help families within the community with financial, technical, and administrative support needed to transform their homes to healthier and safer ones.
- Windham – Modernization of Nathan Hale Terrace Phase III ($1,500,000): The Willimantic Housing Authority owns and operates the 100-unit low and moderate-income housing complex, where 301 children and adults reside. This grant will provide the town the opportunity to complete the final phase of the remaining 50 units at the Nathan Hale Terrace. The work includes electrical system upgrades, roof replacements, new vinyl siding, insulation, porch assemblies, new exterior LED lights, mounting blocks, new vinyl windows, and site improvements.