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    Tuesday, August 16, 2022

    More than $30 million going to state parks, outdoor access

    Gov. Ned Lamont announced $34 million of state funding is going toward “improving and increasing access to the outdoors for Connecticut residents,” according to his office.

    Lamont preemptively celebrated items that the State Bond Commission is expected to approve on Friday, including $15 million “to support repairs, maintenance and new construction” at state parks, according to a news release from Lamont’s office. It said $10 million will go toward providing “open space grants for conservation and recreation purposes” and $9 million “to support improvement and expansion of recreational trails, bikeways, greenways, pedestrian walkways and more.”

    The $15 million for state park preservation is part of $51.5 million in the state budget meant to address a backlog of needed infrastructure improvements.

    “As we reach the peak of our summer season, residents and visitors across Connecticut continue to seek out a respite in their state parks, which provide an incredible resource for those of us who live here,” Lamont said in a news release. “We are making critical investments to ensure that these resources are maintained, and that visitors have the continued ability to access them ... We’ve also successfully staffed our waterfront and shoreline parks with lifeguards through an increase in wages that reflects the important service lifeguards provide.”

    The state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection is also in line for $21.5 million in federal American Rescue Plan Act COVID-19 pandemic relief funds. That money will be used for improvements to park amenities and accessibility, as well as to increase outdoor recreation and education, among other goals.

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