2 controversial projects approved by State Bond Commission

File Photo-WTNH

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Governor Dannel Malloy took out the state’s credit card on Wednesday for the first time since May and approved millions in borrowing for two controversial projects.

The governor cancelled State Bond Commission meetings for the past six months until the state budget stalemate was settled last month in the legislature.

The commission approved borrowing $9 million to make improvements to Silver Sands Beach State Park in Milford despite almost universal opposition by the local mayor, by the Board of Alders and by large groups of residents. Following the vote, which included two opposed and one abstention, Governor Malloy stated, “This is about one community not wanting other people to use the beaches, the public state beaches, in its community.”

Related Content: Local leaders urge state to vote no on Silver Sands project

A local state lawmaker, Rep. Pam Staneski (R-Milford) said, “I don’t think the battle is over on this. Actually, I think the battle has just begun.”

Opponents agree there’s a need for rest rooms with baby changing rooms and a life guard station.

But another local state lawmaker, Rep. Charles Ferraro (R-Milford) added, “A five thousand square foot maintenance facility in a pristine natural environment like Silver Sands is, we feel is a little bit much.”

The state says that’s needed for beach grooming and cleaning equipment which otherwise must be trucked in.

The other controversial item approved Wednesday was $40 million to make improvements to the aging ‘XL Center‘ in Hartford.

Related Content: Hartford’s XL Center may go on the market soon

“To spend $40 million on a facility that’s owned by the city of Hartford and maintained by the State of Connecticut, I think, sends the wrong message to the people of Connecticut,” said Bonding Commissioner member Rep. Christopher Davis (R-Ellington).

Included in the recently-passed state budget, the improvements are designed to try to attract a buyer for downtown Hartford’s money-losing entertainment and sports venue. The governor responded to Davis by saying, “This item was in the budget that you voted for and you did not raise your voice on the floor of the House to oppose this, that’s the reality.”

The commission also approved millions in aid for about 13 companies that are re-locating to or expanding in Connecticut and money for New Haven and 13 other police departments for police body cameras.

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