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.