Mix Of City Bond Money, Federal Block Grants And Trust Fund
By JENNA CARLESSO
March 15, 2011
HARTFORD —— One day after Mayor Pedro Segarra pledged to expand efforts to clean up the city's parks, he announced that the parks would get a $5 million infusion over the next five years to help with beautification and playground enhancements.
The $5 million is a mix of city bond money, community development block grants provided by the federal government and money from the Hartford parks trust fund. The fund was set up in the 1980s using money the city received from selling portions of Batterson Park, a city-owned park in Farmington. There is currently about $12 million in the trust fund, Segarra said.
City officials will use $1 million during the next fiscal year to pay for playground enhancements, forestry management, road repairs in the parks and ground improvements in city cemeteries, the mayor said. The remaining $4 million will be apportioned over the following four years, though it's not yet clear how much will be spent each year.
The $5 million for the parks is part of the city's capital improvement plan, which involves projects that will take place in Hartford between 2011 and 2016. The plan also calls for $1 million in energy improvements at city hall and $1.25 million in traffic signal upgrades. The improvements at city hall would be tied to the building's air-conditioning system, Segarra said, though he didn't elaborate on what specifically would be done.
Segarra's announcement came one day after his state of the city speech, during which he pledged to build on last year's "week of the parks" effort. In August, more than 200 people volunteered to help pick up litter and remove graffiti from the city's parks over the span of a week.
City officials are looking to prolong that effort this year, possibly for up to a month. It will likely take place this spring, city spokeswoman Sarah Barr said.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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