Updated: Grant to help downtown Ansonia

Ansonia will receive a $483 thousand state grant to improve the West Main Street area between Kingston Drive and Bridge Street.

“Ansonia’s West Main Street Improvement Project is consistent with the state of Connecticut’s response to small communities’ need to strengthen commercial centers and relationships with local merchants,” said Mayor James Della Volpe. “This funding will provide the city of Ansonia with a step-up towards enhancing the local economic recovery and revival of our downtown city center.”

The grant will allow Ansonia to create a new granite curb, brick paver strips, concrete walkway, grass planting strip ornamental rail fencing, street trees, and other street furniture, benches, trash receptacles, new ornamental lights and a new parking layout. The parking lot will provide access points to the retail, office and government services as well as to the multi-modal transportation waiting area.


Reviving the community

On July 11, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, joined by Department of Housing Commissioner Evonne Klein, and state and local officials, announced $4,973,865 in Main Street Investment Fund (MSIF) grants to 14 municipalities across Connecticut. The program, administered through the State Department of Housing, provides funding to develop or improve town commercial districts, attract small businesses, and improve pedestrian access and livability in town centers.

“The Main Street Investment Fund is a vital tool that is helping communities revive commercial centers and downtown areas and lay the foundation for expanded economic activity and housing opportunities,” said State Rep. Linda Gentile (D-104).  “This is another step in creating a vibrant downtown community.”

‘What we had in mind’

Klein said the benefits of the MSIF grants are broad reaching.

“There is a recognizable link between housing, economic and community development,” she said. “All three are interdependent and all are crucial factors in the overall economic strategy that is moving Connecticut forward.”

The Main Street Investment Fund, created as part of the historic bipartisan 2011 Jobs Bill, provides financial incentives to eligible municipalities as well as owners of commercial private properties for expenditures that directly support and enhance a qualified project.

“These improvements for downtown Ansonia are exactly what we had in mind when we included this program in the bipartisan 2011 Jobs Bill because we know attractive commercial districts translate directly into enhanced business conditions and more jobs,” said State Sen. Joe Crisco (D-17). “Furthermore, this Main Street Investment Fund helps drive customers to the small businesses that literally define downtown Ansonia — the type of businesses that comprise a vibrant economy locally and throughout Connecticut.”

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  • Joseph A. Luciano

    Will these dollars enable ADA implementation to allow handicap access to municipal buildings as well as retail businesses? Or will the money be used merely to “facelift” (pretty-up) streets and storefronts for the benefit of persons without disabilities?

    Municipal development must include ADA implementation in order to develop as “Livable Communities.” Livable communities permit “aging in place”—which will save our state hundreds of millions annually. That’s because aging in place is far cheaper that nursing home care.

    If the MSIF does not require providing ADA access to businesses, post offices, and town halls, it’s wrong. It’s also an insult to the elderly and persons with disabilities (PWDs) … of all ages.

    It would thrill me if the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development would condescend to answer the question I’ve asked many times. That is, does the state administer grants and/or loans that financially assist private businesses and municipal buildings to provide ADA access?

    PWDs aren’t interested in “facelifts” to attract and benefit only shoppers without disabilities. We PWDs need access. We also deserve access—because we do have money to spend and therefore can contribute to economic development. It’s a mistake to give money to municipalities when the benefits exclude a class of people.

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