The Lyme Town Campus building project got a huge boost today in the form of a $500,000 Small Town Economic Assistance Program (STEAP) grant from the state of Connecticut.
The STEAP award will go toward the construction of a new public library and to renovate and expand the town hall. Both buildings have reached the end of their functional life spans in terms of ADA compliance, mechanical systems integrity, vault capacity, energy efficiency, and technology viability.
Lyme residents approved the estimated $4.7 million project at a referendum last May, with a view to breaking ground on the project this July.
"First Selectman Ralph Eno pledged we would not start until he had managed to raise at least $1 million from grants, foundations, and donations, so the STEAP grant is very, very helpful," said Lyme Town Campus Building Committee member Janis Witkins.
As of the Lyme Town Campus Building Committee's last meeting in December, fundraising efforts had netted a total of $439,000. This STEAP grant now puts the town well within sight of its $1 million fundraising goal.
The town plans to raise the bulk of the cost of the project through bonding, which is expected to raise the town's mill rate by about half a mill. The town of Lyme is also applying for a historical preservation grant to help cover the cost of restoring the town hall building.
Construction should take about 18 months, starting with the new library, which will be built to the north and west of the existing library. Once the new library is complete, the old structure will be razed to allow for an expanded town green. Witkins says the building committee is hopeful that someone will be willing to donate funds to build a bandstand too.
Reconstruction of the town hall will be handled in phases, as the town hall must remain open to residents thoughout the duration of the project. The construction project is expected to create 134 trade jobs. In addition, 27 administrative staffers will be needed to support the tradesmen, and 10 people will be needed to conduct testing and inspections during construction.
“The Town of Lyme is extremely gratified to have been awarded a STEAP Grant. The project will create new jobs for its two year duration, and would not have been possible without full funding of our STEAP Grant application,” said First Selectman Ralph Eno. “On behalf of the town, I wish to offer our collective thanks to Governor Malloy, State Senator Eileen Daily, Representative Marilyn Giuliano, and the Office of Policy and Management for their efforts.”
Lyme is one of eight towns that Gov. Malloy announced today had received STEAP grants, three of which—Lyme, East Haddam, and East Hampton—fall within State Sen. Eileen M. Daily's district.
"Since their inception, the state's STEAP grants to local governments have made possible countless infrastructure improvements small towns would likely have been unable to afford otherwise," said State Senator Eileen M. Daily (D- Lyme, East Haddam, and East Hampton). "These three projects are just the latest examples and underscore the versatility municipal officials now have to consider a broad range of upgrade initiatives - we're certainly grateful for the favorable consideration of these grant applications for Lyme, East Haddam, and East Hampton."
“STEAP grants are an excellent example of how state and local government partnerships can make meaningful improvements that directly benefit residents,” said Governor Malloy. “As we work to rebuild roads, repair bridges, and strengthen business centers in towns across the state, we are making Connecticut more competitive and a better place to work and live.”