Old Lyme, East Lyme to receive Small Town Economic Assistance grants

The state announced today that Old Lyme and East Lyme will receive Small Town Economic Assistance Program grants to renovate the boathouse at Hains Park on Rogers Lake and to rebuild part of the Niantic Bay Boardwalk, respectively.

The state also announced that Bolton, Branford, Burlington, Chaplin, Columbia, Durham, Granby, Kent, Marlborough, North Haven, Trumbull, and Union will also receive STEAP grants. Announcements for additional towns to receive grants under the program are forthcoming.

Old Lyme received a $478,000 grant to improve the boathouse at Hains Park on Rogers Lake. The grant will enable to the town to make the boathouse accessible according to the Americans with Disabilities Act, with bathrooms, showers, a workout room and a space to maintain and repair equipment, the news release stated. The boathouse stores crew racing shells and equipment for the Lyme-Old Lyme school district’s rowing programs and for community rowing clubs.

“This is great news for the Town of Old Lyme. The STEAP grant will allow us to renovate and expand the much used Boathouse at Rogers Lake Trail,” Old Lyme First Selectman Bonnie Reemsnyder said in a statement. “This impacts so many people in our town and will create jobs as we proceed to get the work done."

“The planned upgrade for this facility serves two purposes: a refurbished boathouse will accommodate more seasonal boaters and perhaps even extend the season to allow lake access for ‘leaf peepers’ to admire fall foliage,” state Sen. Andrea Stillman, D-Waterford, said in a statement. “Beyond that, the boathouse is the year ‘round home to the Old Lyme Rowing Association, which in turn helps keep the high school rowing team afloat, so this investment will serve that group as well.”

East Lyme received a $500,000 grant to repair Niantic boardwalk damage from Tropical Storm Irene, upgrading it to a “design that can handle a 100-year storm” and “re-establish coastal access,” according to the release.

Amtrak rebuilt 2,580 feet of the overall boardwalk to the “100-year design” during its rail realignment, the release stated.

“Funding ... will revitalize what is a major tourist attraction during the summer season and a favorite year 'round destination for residents of the region, which in turn will provide a boost to the local economy and its hospitality dependent businesses,” Stillman said.

“I would like to thank Governor Malloy and the administration for recognizing the significance of the boardwalk as an integral part of the ongoing revitalization of downtown Niantic, and for providing the funding for this important aspect of the project,” state Rep. Ed Jutila, D-East Lyme, said in a statement.

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