Suffield receives state grant to repair Canal Road
By Colin Rajala - Staff Writer
Suffield - posted Thu., Jan. 17, 2013
On Jan. 7, Gov. Dannel Malloy announced Small Town Economic Assistance Program (STEAP) grants to Suffield and seven other Connecticut towns engaging in capital improvement projects to stabilize and reinforce infrastructure, restore and revitalize public spaces and create jobs. Suffield has been selected for one of those grants.
“STEAP grants are an excellent example of how state and local government partnerships can make meaningful improvements that directly benefit residents,” Malloy said in a news release. “As we work to rebuild roads, repair bridges, and strengthen business centers in towns across the state, we are making Connecticut more competitive and a better place to work and live.”
Suffield received a $250,000 STEAP award for the reconstruction and roadway improvements on Canal Road, which serves Suffield’s two largest employers, Suffield by the River and the Suffield House. Canal Road also serves as the access road to the Windsor Locks Canal State Park trail. The STEAP allotments to Suffield, Andover, Berlin, East Haddam, East Hampton, Fairfield, Lyme and Somers totaled just under $2.9 million.
"I would like to thank the governor's office for awarding this grant to Suffield,” said state Rep. Elaine O’Brien (D-61). “This money will enable the town to improve access to both the health care facilities and to the Windsor Locks Canal trail."
Suffield First Selectman Edward McAnaney says the grant allows the town flexibility for their road repairs. On Dec. 13 the town auctioned off bonds in the amount of $9 million. The town receives cash for the bonds and pays interest, a low 1.6 percent, on the face value of the bonds to the bond holder. As part of the deal, the town is planning on purchasing two fire trucks for no more than $1.4 million; one has already been purchased for $600,000. The bonds were also used to replace the one-lane bridge on Boston Neck Road over Stony Brook for $630,000. The balance of the remaining money will be used on road repairs needed throughout the town. McAnaney says that since the town received the STEAP grant, they will now be able to use the additional $250,000 of the bond money on roads that were not scheduled to be repaired.
“The overarching point is the town is attempting to improve and support its infrastructure as best it can without any increase in taxes to the citizens,” McAnaney said. "We’re trying to hold the budget as steady as possible and keep their taxes as low as possible.”