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Madison Gets $500,000 STEAP Grant For Streetscape Improvements Downtown

The award was announced Tuesday by Gov. Dannel Malloy at a press conference here.

 

Madison has won a $500,000 Small Town Economic Assistance Program grant to relocate underground overhead utility wires in the downtown business district. This money will be used to bury the utility lines and make other improvements to the downtown. Madison received a $400,000 STEAP award last year for The first phase.

Malloy announced the grant award during a Tuesday afternoon press conference in Madison at the corner of Boston Post Road and Wall Street.

Malloy encouraged town officials, who were gathered at a news conference downtown with local business owners and business leaders, to spend the money in a timely manner. "If you don't get this thing built, no more money!" he said.

Regional shopping and restaurant center

He said that the project is an important one for the downtown, which he characterized as a regional shopping and restaurant center. He noted that he's attended book signings at R. J. Julia Booksellers and receptions at Madison Art Cinemas, two businesses that draw customers from all over Connecticut and beyond.

Malloy said he enjoys visiting Madison. Prior to the news conference, he spent some time at Hammonasset Beach State Park and then at Donahue's Madison Beach Grille. Following the speech making at the news conference, he joined town officials and business leaders for a stroll up and down the downtown.

He stopped into R.J. Julia, where he spoke with Bronwen Blaney, who runs the Espresso Book Machine, which prints books on demand. He then picked up a picture book on dogs and turned right to the page featuring some Jack Russell Terriers. The Malloys have two, Puck and Zoe. His next stop was R.J. Cafe where he got a shout-out from Elaine Lavallee of Clinton, who was having lunch. "You're doing a great job!" she said. Malloy thanked her, then ordered a cappuchino, prompting all the men in the room to draw their wallets. Malloy offered to pay, but Sen. Ed Meyer was the quickest draw.

A new book, a few stickers, and hopes that the grant will create more jobs

Roxanne Coady, the owner of R. J. Julia, then got Malloy a copy of Catherine, a biography of Catherine the Great that has received rave reviews. Coady said she thought he would enjoy it because he enjoys reading history. Malloy also stopped in Modern Dog, where he bought some Jack Russell stickers and had a chat with Andrea Pannulo of bellaPerlina, a jewelry, clothing and accessories store across the street from Modern Dog.

Malloy said the improvements made possible by the grant will contribute to the vitality of the downtown, but he also said spending the money is important for the area's economic development and will help create jobs, an important focus for his administration.

Pam McKinnon, the chairman of the Madison Center Project, said the goal of the project is to improve the entire streetscape. Improvements are planned to the sidewalks, the landscaping, the median strip, and the utilities, which will be placed underground.

Local funding part of $10 million earmarked in program

The local funding is part of some $10 million earmarked in the STEAP grant program to improve local communities.

The State Bond Commission allocated the $10 million this month for 2013 STEAP grants. The grants are awarded to small towns across the state, in part because of their impact on overall regional economic development.

“I have pressed for the $500,000 state grant for street improvements in Madison,” said State Senator Ed Meyer (D-Madison, Branford). “The governor’s decision to go with the streets improvement grant will give Madison an even more attractive shopping center.” 

"Great to see hard work paying off"

“I'm pleased the state awarded this grant to assist Madison in completing the downtown project,” said State Representative Noreen Kokoruda, R- Madison and Guilford. “This plan has been worked on by many Madison residents for years and it's great to see that all their hard work is paying off. In the near future Madison's quaint downtown will get a much needed facelift."

Malloy said the money is essential spending that will allow towns to improve public safety and emergency services locally.

The STEAP announcement here is one of several Malloy made today. He was in Portland earlier in the day to announce a $227,700 STEAP grant there for a new sand and salt shed intended to protect a major source of public water in town. In Killingworth, Malloy announced the town would also get $500,000 in STEAP funding for a new emergency operations center.

Lp October 10, 2012 at 12:16 PM
Funny that nothing will go towards septic/plumbing improvements that would actually allow more restaurants, which is badly needed. Restaurants bring people to town. Then people shop.
CCL October 10, 2012 at 02:58 PM
That's nice let's 'beautify' downtown so everyone can walk around and say how 'beautiful' it looks...are you serious? Last time I looked, downtown Madison was pretty nice already. Downtown already got this grant in the recent past - and now it should have gone to the Strong Center so our town can actually use it for the greater good. This is a very disappointing example of priorities being out of order.
Matt October 10, 2012 at 11:28 PM
I"m confused. How does putting the power lines underground create jobs??? How does putting the power lines underground create more business?? How does putting the power lines underground encourage more patronage of existing businesses?? Once AGAIN, our taxes flushed down the toilet in the Town of Madison for absolutely nothing. Maybe we can use the next grant to paint the road black?
Janet October 11, 2012 at 11:17 PM
Who decided that it is in the town's best interests to spend $1MM to bury power lines? And I've heard conflicting stories on this... some said they were just being moved to the back of the shops on ONE side? If more constructive spending will bring more business to town, why not do that instead? How about a left turning lane going Westbound on Route 1 at Samson Rock Road so that cars can actually move through town?
Janet October 11, 2012 at 11:19 PM
We could use a crosswalk in front of Cafe Allegre-- make it more pedestrian-friendly to browse all the shops.
Janet October 11, 2012 at 11:25 PM
Malloy has doomed this state with his unprecedented tax hike coupled with a refusal to do anything meaningful to cut spending. Our state taxes pay for these "grants' and if we think this one is wasteful, think of the aggregate waste all over the state.
Thomas Riley October 12, 2012 at 07:18 PM
Another waste of taxpayer money that people think is free money

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