FARMINGTON, CT — Governor Ned Lamont Monday announced that he has approved more than $11 million in state funding for grants through the Small Town Economic Assistance Program, or STEAP Grant program, including funding for an innovative way to conduct public meetings in Farmington.
The local grant is one of 94 going to "small towns" across Connecticut for various infrastructure. Farmington's is for $128,205 to fund a new outdoor pavilion at Farmington Town Hall for public and private use, including outdoor meetings. The grant will be matched by $35,975 from the town.
It is the first time since 2016 that the state has awarded STEAP funding.
Lamont said that he reinstated the program in an effort to support Connecticut's municipalities while implementing projects that will give a boost to the economy and help in their response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
For the 2020 round of funding, Lamont implemented a special coronavirus provision to assist towns with expenditures related to their ongoing response to the pandemic, including new construction, expansion, renovation or replacement of existing facilities.
"Our small towns have been hit hard by COVID-19 and are in need of our help to fund these projects," Lamont said. "Simply put, some of our small towns need to modernize their infrastructure so that we can support efforts to grow the economy but lack the property tax base they need to fully fund these projects on their own. The state can and should do what we can to help with these costs as these small towns drive tourism, honor our deep and celebrated history, and provide us with family-friendly getaways that are part of the New England experience."
STEAP grants are coordinated by the Connecticut Office of Policy and Management and grants are administered by the appropriate state agencies depending on the specific project involved.
Under state law, STEAP grants can only be used for capital projects. A project is considered to be a capital project if it is new construction, expansion, renovation, or replacement for an existing facility or facilities.
Project costs can include the cost of land, design, engineering, architectural planning, and contract services needed to complete the project. Towns selected for an award are required to execute a contract with the state agency assigned to administer their grant before they incur any project-related expenditures.