Governor M. Jodi Rell announced today that funds are available to assist cities and towns and land conservation organizations with the purchase and preservation of open space lands and urban gardens through the state of Connecticut’s Open Space and Watershed Land Acquisition program.
"We will award up to $5 million in grants for local land preservation," Governor Rell said. "These grants help preserve thousands of beautiful and environmentally important acres in cities and town across our state. We know that local recipients will use their Yankee ingenuity and creativity in putting these funds to very good use in helping to achieve our state and local open space goals."
The $5 million in funds for this round of open space grants are available through money allocated to DEP under the state’s Community Investment Act (CIA). In addition to open space purchases, a portion of the available grant funding will be dedicated to the Urban Green Community Garden Initiative. This funding may be used by targeted and distressed communities to reclaim existing urban open space into usable public green areas. The development of a community garden at these areas provides recreational opportunities for both children and adults with the added benefit of healthy produce.
State bond funds have historically been used to provide open space grants under the Open Space and Watershed Land Acquisition program. Funds allocated to DEP through the CIA were used to supplement bond funds after that law took effect in 2005.
DEP Commissioner Amey Marrella said, "The DEP is pleased that funds raised through the CIA will continue to assist in purchases of open space and urban green areas throughout Connecticut. These acquisitions not only enrich our lives by providing an enjoyable place to be outdoors, but protect natural habitats for wildlife and bird species as well as preserving our local agricultural heritage."
Background on Open Space and Open Space Grants
The Open Space and Watershed Land Acquisition grant program has played a key part in helping the state move forward toward achieving its open space goal.
Connecticut’s open space includes land purchased by the state and land purchased by municipalities and others, often with state financial assistance. These purchases are helping Connecticut meet its open space goal of protecting 21 percent of Connecticut’s land – or 673,210 acres – by the year 2023. Connecticut is now 72 percent of the way toward achieving the goal, with 485,817 acres having been designated as open space. Since the program began in 1998 the state has provided more than $93,707,161 in grants to assist with the purchase of about 21,596 acres across the state.
Background on the Community Investment Act
Under the CIA, Public Act 05-228, a fee was established for the recording of all documents into municipal land records. Funds from this fee are shared by local governments and four state agencies: The Department of Agriculture, the DEP, the Commission on Culture and Tourism and the Conn. Housing Finance Authority.
The CIA was designed to protect and preserve the beauty and unique character of Connecticut for future generations by providing a new source of funding for
Details on Applying for an Open Space Grant