New London officials frustrated that environmental funds associated with the State Pier redevelopment won't come to them
The Connecticut Port Authority Board voted yesterday to approve a $3.4 million agreement with the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) for fish habitat restoration projects in connection with the State Pier redevelopment.
However the city of New London, where the State Pier is located, will receive no funds.
Felix Reyes, the director of economic development for New London, cast the lone vote against the agreement. He said the money is not being distributed equitably and that it is being prioritized for wealthier municipalities rather than spent in distressed communities like New London.
“There has to be a better disbursement of funds and there’s absolutely no equity in this at all,” Reyes said.
New London Mayor Michael Passero said DEEP has ignored New London completely.
“Right next door to the State Pier is Winthrop Cove and feeding Winthrop Cove is Briggs Brooks and both of these areas are extremely environmentally important, and they need a lot of work, they need a lot of remediation. Why that money isn’t being spent right there, where the impact is happening is mind boggling. DEEP doesn’t seem to have even given us any consideration whatsoever,” Passero said.
Some of the projects that could see funding are based as far away as Fairfield County.
DEEP said they had been unable to find any projects in the immediate New London area that were in advanced stages of planning or ready to begin immediately.