Open Space Grant Program Will Benefit from $5 Million in Funding
(HARTFORD, CT) – Governor Dannel P. Malloy said today that $5 million to assist cities, towns, and land trusts with the purchase of important lands to protect as open space is expected to be approved when the state Bond Commission meets May 30.
“Our open space grant program has played a part in protecting almost 30,000 acres in 81 communities across our state,” Governor Malloy said. “We will continue moving forward with this program because these lands serve to protect critical natural resources, provide convenient places for residents to hike and enjoy the outdoors, and add to the beauty and charm of our state.”
The Open Space and Watershed Land Grant Program is administered by the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP). It was launched in 1998 and since that time almost $110 million in grants have been awarded.
DEEP will use the new bond funds, along with at least $5 million it has received under the Community Investment Act (CIA) to award the 17th round of grants this year. The deadline for applications for the new round of grants was March 31. DEEP received 30 applications for funding open space projects totaling more than 2,200 acres. It also received two applications for the Urban Green and Community Garden portion of the grant program.
The open space grants provided under the program typically fund up to 65% of the fair market value – although in some circumstances the grant amount can be higher or lower – for the purchase of eligible open space properties by municipalities, local land trusts, and water companies. Lands purchased under the program must be preserved predominately in its natural state although it can be used for passive outdoor recreation such as hiking.
Governor Malloy said, “Our state has set an ambitious goal of protecting 21% of Connecticut’s land – or 673,210 acres – as open space by the year 2023. We look to accomplish this through open space owned by the state as well as lands owned by municipalities and land trusts, and other partners. We are now at around 75% of that goal – and we are determined moving toward it. This new round of funding for the grant program will continue our progress.”
Additional information on the open space grant program can be found at www.ct.gov/deep/openspace.