Published January 06. 2011 4:00AM Updated January 06. 2011 12:21PM
It's official: the Stony Creek Museum will receive a $75,000 grant from the state, thanks to the state Bond Commission's signing off on a grant in the waning days of 2010. And that means the stage is set for a summer 2011 opening of the museum's future home on Thimble Island Road.
State Representative Pat Widlitz applauded the release of state bonding to help further establish the non-profit, member-based museum. The museum has been on the drawing board for more than two years, as its all-volunteer founding membership has chugged along with fundraising and Creek-centric artifact-gathering efforts.
"Final approval of this funding is great news because it will play a significant role in helping this project documenting Stony Creek's rich history move forward," said Widlitz, adding, "The story of this historic quarry town that supplied the granite base of the Statue of Liberty will be enjoyed by generations to come. The museum will enhance the appreciation of the culture of the 'Creek' and the Thimble Islands, in addition to serving as a tourist attraction in the area."
On Dec. 2, 2010, Governor M. Jodi Rell and State Senator Ed Meyer, a champion of the cause, contacted news agencies with official word of their expectation that the grant would gain state bonding approval on
Dec. 10. The Sound broke the news to Stony Creek Museum Chair Judy Robison, who is credited as the originator of the museum concept.
Robison said the board was "thrilled" by the news. She added the monetary windfall came as a surprise, as the grant had been put before the state Bond Commission earlier in 2010, but didn't gain approval. Robison said she felt Meyer's efforts were critical in giving the grant a second chance.
Branford owns the building at 86 Thimble Island Road (the former St. Therese Church) that's set to become the Stony Creek Museum. In 2009, the museum board officially announced the establishment of the museum's future home there.
The $75,000 state grant is the largest sum the board has raised to date, Robinson told The Sound in early December.
"It will help us turn a long-vacant building into a showcase for the community. The intended use [of the grant] is for window replacements, insulation, and a new furnace," she said.