HARTFORD — The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) is now accepting proposals for Connecticut’s Recreational Trails Program, which provides funding for projects that add to or enhance the state’s 2,000 miles of multi-use trails and bike paths that connect cities to the outdoors, provide opportunities for green commuting and crisscross some of the state’s most picturesque terrain.
The Connecticut Recreational Trails Program provides funding for projects that include the following uses: planning and design of trails; construction of new trails; maintenance and restoration of existing recreational trails; access to trails by persons with disabilities; purchase and lease of trail construction and maintenance equipment; acquisition of land or easements for a trail, or for trail corridors; and operation of educational programs to promote safety and environmental protection as related to recreational trails.
The program recently received $3 million in bond funding through the State Bond Commission (SBC) for this latest grant round. At the SBC meeting held July 23, Gov. Ned Lamont underscored the importance of these funds by pointing out how important getting outdoors has been for state residents during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I never heard so many comments after a year of COVID how much people appreciated our parks and trails,” Gov. Lamont said.
“Our state’s trails were there for the unprecedented number of folks who ventured outdoors seeking a respite from the pandemic over the past year-and-a-half,” DEEP Commissioner Katie Dykes said. “The funding provided through this program is critical to ensuring that Connecticut’s existing system of trails are maintained, accessible to all, and can be expanded to meet growing demand. Thank you to Gov. Lamont and the SBC for your support of outdoor recreation in our state.”
Recent grant recipients include:
Riverfront Recapture: received $125,000 to continue a goal to connect people in the Hartford area to the Connecticut River. This project will extend their regional recreational trail network to the Windsor River Walk.
The City of Middletown: received $103,196 to use as part of their landfill property restoration to provide a 1.25-mile multi-use trail with views of the Coginchaug and CT Rivers.
The Town of Colchester: received $47,776 for construction of a link between the Goodwin Trail and the Air Line State Park Trail.
The Town of South Windsor: received $100,000 for design of the Crosstown Trail, a 6.2-mile multi-purpose off-road trail.
The Town of Redding: received $300,000 for construction of their first section of the Norwalk River Valley Trail. The design for the trail is complete and was paid for via private community donations.
Applications for the current grant round will be accepted through November 1, 2021. Grants may be made to any private nonprofit organizations, municipalities, state departments and tribal governments. Grant amounts vary and can pay up to 80% of eligible project costs.
Visit www.ct.gov/deep/ctrectrails for details and applications. For further information contact: Laurie Giannotti, DEEP Recreational Trails & Greenways Program at (860) 424-3578.