Connecticut to Purchase More Open Space Statewide

Connecticut is set to approve $5 million in borrowing, which will allow it to finance a new round of grants to purchase open space across the state.

Funds for the state's Open Space and Watershed Land Acquisition Program, which is administered by the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP), are expected to be approved Wednesday by the State Bond Commission. The grants will be awarded to municipalities, nonprofit land conservation organizations and water companies to acquire land and have it designated as open space.

The commission, which is chaired by Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont, is scheduled to meet Wednesday.

Members are also expected to approve long-awaited funding for local transportation improvement projects, including bridges; certain state transportation projects; and repairs to the Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford.

An allotment of $1 million is expected to be approved so DEEP can continue removing severely damaged, decayed and distressed trees in state parks and recreation areas. There's also funding for improvements to libraries across the state, prisons, various state buildings, and state government computer systems.

Several housing projects in Hartford are expected to receive a financial boost as well, including low-cost loans for improvements to existing complexes or the development of new units. The commission is expected to approve $12 million in loans for the Pratt Street Initiative, a downtown project that involves converting commercial buildings into approximately 129 rental housing units with refurbished retail space at the street level.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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