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State Senator Ted Kennedy, Jr. (D-12) joined Connecticut’s Department of Energy & Environmental Protection (DEEP) to announce a grant awarded to the Town of Killingworth. The $52,000 grant will allow the town to build a new, more accessible trail at Sheldon Park.
“This grant will allow Killingworth to open Sheldon Park for more people who want to experience nature in their community,” said Senator Kennedy, Senate chair of the Environment Committee. “Connecticut’s parks and other green spaces are an important part of what make our state such a great place to live and raise a family. I am glad we were able to secure this funding so that people with all abilities can experience Sheldon Park and similar parks throughout the state.”
“We are so pleased to be able to expand the opportunity for outdoor recreation to people with limited mobility—from individuals out for a walk in the lively atmosphere of Sheldon Park to players in Little League Challenger Division. Sheldon will truly be a park for everyone,” said Killingworth First Selectman Cathy Iino.
The new, paved trail will be 860 feet long and five feet wide. It will run through Sheldon Park to provide the opportunity for people with mobility impairments who cannot negotiate the rocky, uneven woodland trails to walk or ride in fresh air and participate in community activities.
Killingworth is one of 27 communities across Connecticut that recently received grants to create new and improved opportunities for families to spend time outdoors. These grants will fund 38 projects to build, expand, or enhance greenways and multi-use trails.
“Through our Recreational Trails Program, we are providing funds that will provide attractive opportunities for more families to enjoy the outdoors, and to have the chance to spend time together outside,” said DEEP Commissioner Robert Klee. “We applaud Governor Malloy and members of the General Assembly for making these funds available and allowing us to continue improving and connecting the many tremendous trail and greenway networks in our state.”
DEEP expanded the scope of its Recreational Trails Program under terms of Public Act 15-190, which allowed the agency to provide funding for a full range of multi-use trails and greenways projects. Kennedy led the charge in the last legislative session to expand the number of projects that can be funded by the Recreational Trails Program, allowing communities like Killingworth to benefit from it. This legislation also expanded eligibility for grants so that non-profit organizations are able to receive funds under this program. At its Jan. 29 meeting, the state Bond Commission authorized $7 million for grants.
The Connecticut Greenways Council is serving as an advisory committee for grant selection and recently met to select the first round of grant recipients under the newly constituted program.
Funds received through this program may be used for locally supported trails and trail systems, bikeways, and multiuse paths. Grant money can be allocated for a wide variety of purposes, including planning, design, land acquisition, construction, construction administration, and publications for bikeways, walkways, and greenways as well as for equipment and trail amenities, such as parking lots, toilet buildings, signs, and benches.
DEEP is hosting a kick-off meeting on Thursday, April 7 at the headquarters of the Connecticut Forest & Park Association (CFPA) in Rockfall to brief grant recipients on next steps in the project process. For more information, visit www.ctwoodlands.org. DEEP envisions most projects being completed by the fall of 2017.
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