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State Bond Commission OKs funds for local projects

By Johanna Somers

Publication: The Day

Published March 14. 2013 4:00AM   Updated March 15. 2013 12:11AM

The State Bond Commission on Wednesday approved about $291 million in bond allocations that will benefit residents of New London, Norwich, Ledyard, Stonington and Groton, among other municipalities.

The bond allocations for local cities and towns included projects for public housing, community colleges, ports and ponds.

The Bond Commission approved $500,000 for the Norwich housing authority and $250,000 for the New London housing authority. The housing funds, totaling $5 million, are for grants-in-aid to housing authorities for alterations, renovations, improvements and revitalization planning, according to the commission agenda document.

"Certainly, we look forward to being able to utilize $500,000 for upgrading projects that we will determine once we get confirmation of particulars," said Charles Whitty, executive director of Norwich's housing authority.

The governor's goal is to preserve public housing in Connecticut, said Paul Mounds, director of government affairs for the governor's office.

The vast majority of public housing was built in the 1980s, Whitty said. On the state side, there has never been regular operating or capital funding, he said.

"Gov. (Dannel P.) Malloy recognizes that there is a need to preserve the state housing portfolio or it will be lost," Whitty said.

Norwich has 509 units, which include units for families and the elderly, he said.

State Sen. Cathy Osten, D-Sprague, said it was gratifying to see funding for public housing and community colleges.

"We have limited funds here in the state, and it is exactly these types of infrastructure investments that we should be making," Osten said in a press release Wednesday.

State Sen. Andrea Stillman, D-Waterford, said she wanted to thank the governor for providing the last of four allocations for community colleges.

The community colleges are important because they play a role in job creation, she said.

The Bond Commission approved nearly $1.7 million for Three Rivers to purchase new instruction, research and or laboratory equipment. Three Rivers was also approved for $428,200 for computers, servers and other technology equipment, according to the agenda document.

Grace Jones, president of Three Rivers Community College, said this was "groundbreaking" news.

The bond commission also approved $200,000 for financing the design and construction of flood control projects at Lee Brook Pond and Long Pond in Ledyard.

j.somers@theday.com

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