The Town of Berlin has been awarded a $500,000 Small Town Economic Assistance Program (STEAP) grant for the Train Station Boulevard project as part of the town’s downtown revitalization efforts, according to an announcement Thursday from Gov. Dannel Malloy.
“We are investing in the Train Station Boulevard project to create a more accessible, more walkable hub for transit, commerce and culture in downtown Berlin,” said Governor Malloy. “Across Connecticut, we are making similar investments in capital projects and working with municipal partners to boost local economies, improve the quality of life for residents and increase our competiveness as a state.”
The Train Station Boulevard project is the Town Berlin’s comprehensive effort to revitalize its downtown commercial area centered on the Berlin Train Station and Veterans Memorial Park.
Since Berlin does not have a traditional town center, the Train Station Boulevard project is critical to the town’s economic development and will connect a number of development projects at the Berlin Train Station by improving access to the train station, police station, public parking (including an additional 48 spaces that will be added with this grant) and new and existing businesses. A brownfields’ grant is being used to remediate 1.25 acres of property that will tie the site together.
“This downtown revitalization project is a great example of how we can breathe new life into existing structures that have history in our community, rather than tearing them down to build something new,” said State Senator Terry Gerratana (D-6). “The state investment announced today will allow Berlin to make substantial improvements to the area around Berlin Train Station, improving the public's access to the station, nearby parking, and local businesses. These improvements are critical to establishing a new public space that will boost the local economy, attracting new businesses and creating new jobs.”
“It’s a pleasure to work with Governor Malloy as we continue the much needed improvements to Berlin’s downtown area,” said House Majority Leader Joe Aresimowicz (D-30). “The ongoing commitment from the State of Connecticut, which has provided Berlin with more than one million dollars in STEAP grants, has been a tremendous asset to the town.”
“I am grateful to Governor Malloy for understanding the importance of economic development in Berlin,” said State Rep. Cathy Abercrombie (D-83). “The train station project has been a work in progress over the years, and I appreciate the strong commitment to making this happen.”
“Berlin is tremendously grateful to receive the STEAP grant award,” said Berlin Mayor Rachel Rochette. “This grant will help fund our downtown revitalization project. Berlin has been successful in working with the State on the Railroad Station enhancement which will tie into Berlin's new police station, boulevard and downtown plans. This grant is another example of Governor Malloy recognizing the importance that small towns play in the larger economic success of our state.”
The Berlin Train Station is one of seven stations on the Amtrak line in Connecticut north of New Haven and the first station south of Hartford. The commuter rail service will add nine additional daily round trips during commuting hours. Berlin was awarded this grant consideration of project readiness and impact on overall regional economic development.
In addition, the Town of Berlin received $259,270 from the state’s Main Street Investment program for streetscaping and $17.6 million from the state Department of Transportation to raise and reconstruct a railroad underpass. The Town was also awarded various STEAP awards for façade and landscaping improvements to area businesses, improvements to Veterans Park, streetscaping, and other Train station improvements
Administered by the Office of Policy and Management (OPM), STEAP provides funding for local capital improvement projects that support economic development, encourage community conservation and improve the quality of life for residents. The STEAP grant award process will operate on a rolling basis with periodic award announcements throughout the year.