Officials React After $2.6M In State Bonding Secured For Sandy Hook Memorial
HARTFORD — On July 24, the State Bond Commission authorized the funding on a number of projects including necessary infrastructure updates, municipal aid, school construction, and additional needs statewide — as well as a grant allocation for the Sandy Hook Permanent Memorial.
Newtown’s state legislative delegation of Senator Tony Hwang (R-28), Raghib Allie-Brennan (D-2), Mitch Bolinsky (R-106) and Tony Scott (R-112) worked with Governor Ned Lamont’s office and Newtown First-Selectman Dan Rosenthal to secure the $2.6 million grant allocation.
The following are reactions from officials responsible for supporting the funding and the project:
Rep Allie-Brennan said, “Thanks to bipartisan cooperation, we are returning taxpayer dollars to honor the lives lost at Sandy Hook Elementary. I am grateful for the support of Governor Lamont, Speaker Ritter, and the State Bond Commission. The Sandy Hook Memorial will not only honor the 26 angels taken that day, but it will also be a touchstone of love and support for survivors and visitors from around the world who mourn the tragedy.”
Rosenthal said, “Now that state support of the Sandy Hook Permanent Memorial has been finalized through the bond commission, I would once again like to sincerely thank Governor Lamont, Lt. Governor Bysiewicz, Senator Hwang, and Representatives Bolinsky, Allie-Brennan, and Scott and the entire state legislature for their support of this very important project. The people of Connecticut have stood firmly with Newtown over the last eight-and-a-half years, and I know I speak for our entire community in expressing my appreciation.
David Krauss, chair of the Sandy Hook Permanent Memorial Commission commented, “The Sandy Hook Permanent Memorial Commission is thankful to the entire Newtown legislative delegation including Sen Hwang, Gov Lamont, and the whole Connecticut Legislature for their support and funding for this important project. I hope that the memorial will be a place of remembrance of the victims of this unspeakable tragedy and a place that will bring a sense of peace to all affected.”
Sen Hwang, who serves as the ranking senator on the bonding subcommittee, said, “With today’s action by the State Bond Commission, we are another step closer to this important memorial coming to fruition. The Sandy Hook Permanent Memorial will serve Newtown, Sandy Hook, and all those affected by that tragic day, helping us keep the students and staff in our hearts and minds. I want to thank the good people of our community who stepped forward to serve on the commission to organize the effort to design and construct the memorial. Additionally, I would like to share my appreciation for all those who came together to advocate for this funding: my fellow legislators and Newtown’s local leaders. This supplemental funding from the state was a team success.”
Rep Bolinsky expressed his gratitude for the generosity of the governor, the speaker of the house, and the bonding commission, saying, “I am truly touched that Governor Lamont, Speaker Ritter, and so many others again had Newtown in their hearts and insisted the state be part of honoring the memories of those lost on 12/14/2012. Completing the Sandy Hook Permanent Memorial before the ten-year anniversary will mean a lot, and l hope this place of beauty will bring a small measure of peace, to continue the process of healing for our families and so many in our community. As a delegation, we worked closely to support the issuance of this grant in the spirit intended, with respect, reverence, and love. I’d also like to recognize the role First Selectman Dan Rosenthal played, working with Ned Lamont’s people, as well as the role of my delegation-mate, Rep Raghib Allie-Brennan, who was our personal connection for follow-up and facilitation with Speaker Matt Ritter.”
Reflecting, Bolinsky concluded, “Looking back will always be difficult, but I can’t imagine how any family or community could move forward a single inch if not for the support and love of neighbors and friends, near and far. Through the unspeakable, the state of Connecticut has been very kind to our town. Former Governor Dan Malloy pledged the state would do whatever it could to make Newtown whole again, and he stood with us. I’m moved that Governor Lamont is carrying his own torch of caring, as well.”
Rep Scott said, “When I joined the state legislature, I was immediately struck by the tireless work of my colleagues in the Newtown delegation and local officials in advocating for this powerful tribute to the local community. Now that this determined and capable group has brought efforts to secure this critical state grant to the finish line, I’m overjoyed not just for the fulfillment of our efforts, but for the outpouring of support from representatives of all corners of the state in pushing it forward. The Newtown delegation’s relentless push to close the loop on this state funding will be almost as fitting of a testament to the spirit and heart of this community as the long-awaited memorial itself.”
Construction of the project is expected to begin next month just down the street from where the shooting occurred that killed 20 first-graders and six educators. The project is anticipated to be finished before the tenth anniversary next year, officials said.
The State Bond Commission meeting was the first of the new fiscal year, which began July 1, and only the second during 2021.
About $600 million of the borrowing approved Friday was earmarked for general obligation bonds — money that will be spent on a wide range of projects such as improvements to the state pier in New London. The site is being redeveloped into an offshore wind hub.
Funding was also approved for infrastructure improvements at community health centers and mental health and substance abuse providers, grants for new walking trails and pedestrian walkways, state information technology upgrades, sound amplification in state courtrooms, asbestos removal in state buildings, and affordable housing and energy efficiency projects.
The panel approved an additional $20 million to continue helping homeowners in northeastern Connecticut replace their crumbling foundations, and $300 million in local school building projects. Meanwhile, slightly more than $500 million of the projects approved on Friday are transportation-related, including state and local road, highway and bridge repair work.
There’s also funding for rail improvements, and bus and rail facilities.