By Katrina Scalise Republican-American
PROSPECT — The town will receive $1.4 million in grant funding from the Small Town Economic Assistance Program next month, and will vote on how to spend the funds Aug. 15.
A town subcommittee has been meeting over the course of the past year to discuss how to allocate the latest installment of the grant, and will consider the results of a town survey that received more than 800 responses from citizens.
The subcommittee will meet at 6 p.m. to vote on how the STEAP funds will be spent.
STEAP is a state program that provides funds for economic development, community conservation and quality-of-life capital projects for municipalities that are ineligible to receive Urban Action bonds. Prospect is one of more than 90 qualified towns. Municipalities can receive up to $500,000 per year from the program.
The town already has proposed to use STEAP funds to improve sidewalks along Waterbury Road for enhanced pedestrian mobility, including sidewalk installations, lighting and sidewalk extensions on commercial corridors.
“The majority of responses were for better air quality in buildings and better outdoor recreation,” Mayor Robert J. Chatfield said. “We have an old school community center with no air system, which needs to be improved because it’s the town fallout shelter.”
The mayor noted that the recent heat wave worsened air-conditioning problems in town buildings.
“Last week in the height of the hot weather, the original AC unit in the senior center went out,” he said. “It was 22 or 23 years old. The two remaining air conditioners are still going and in the meantime other units were bought. But we need better air quality at the senior center and firehouse, among other buildings.”
Chatfield also said citizens want “better parks and better recreation activities. Some people want to pave the walking track. Some people want to expand the playgrounds.”