State Representative Bryan Hurlburt, who represents Tolland in the legislature, announced that the town has been awarded a $500,000 state grant to help pay for planned improvements at Tolland High School’s sports stadium
Earlier this month, Hurlburt also secured a $200,000 grant from the State Bond Commission toward the project, which includes upgrades to the athletic field including stadium lights, artificial turf and ADA accessible restroom facilities.
“This is great news as upgrading the athletic field at the high school is an identified priority of the Town Council and athletic groups in town,” said Hurlburt, a member of the legislature’s Appropriations Committee. “This is a great win for our community and showcases how a public-private partnership can advance projects that otherwise would not be completed. I especially want to thank the Governor and Lieutenant Governor for their continued support and assistance in awarding these funds.”
Hurlburt also noted that artificial turf will help reduce long-term maintenance costs for the town and stadium lights will allow for night play, allowing more people to attend games. “This project is exciting for the entire town, and particularly for our student athletes, parents and fans who enjoy Tolland Eagle sports,” he said.
The balance of the estimated $800,000 project will come from private funding being raised by local soccer and football booster clubs. “We are grateful for the generous support of the State of Connecticut, through Governor Malloy and Lt. Governor Wyman. I would also like to personally thank State Representative Bryan Hurlburt for his tireless advocacy over the past two years on this project,” said Jim Leahy, Tolland High School Boys Varsity Soccer Coach, who is leading local private fundraising efforts.
Leahy added, “I have been impressed by the overwhelming support from sports and community leaders in town since the inception of this project. Once completed, this will be an invaluable community resource with safe playing surfaces and increased opportunities from varsity sports to the youngest youth league activities.”
The latest $500,000 grant comes from the state’s Small Town Economic Assistance Program (STEAP). STEAP was created by the General Assembly in 2001 to encourage economic growth and community conservation within the overall character of a town. Among the criteria to be eligible for such grants, a town must have less than 30,000 people and not have an urban center.