Community Investment Fund taking applications; $875 million ready for the taking
HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Over the next five years, a massive infusion of state money will be sprinkled throughout Connecticut.
It’s called the Community Investment Fund 2030: a five-year state grant program backed by $875 million in funding.
A huge infusion of taxpayer dollars will jumpstart the fund. Leaders hope it will make an equitable change to the landscape of the state.
“There’s so much need in our communities. It’s about equity,” said State Rep. Bobby Gibson, the Vice-Chair of the Black and Puerto Rican Caucus.
Each year for the next five years, the CIF Board will award $175 million. Money will be targeted to help underserved communities like Hartford.
State Sen. Doug McCrory, who represents Hartford, put the challenge into the universe.
“Show us something that will be transformational for your community because that’s what you need. That’s what we need. That’s what all our neighborhoods need,” McCrory said.
Who can apply? There are 54 towns or cities considered underserved. New Haven and Waterbury fall into the category. Towns like Wethersfield and Enfield can also apply.
They are considered public investment communities.
House Speaker Matt Ritter said Homestead Avenue in Hartford’s north end is an example of a space this fund could benefit from.
“They’ve had these old warehouses for many years that we got to knock down and go vertical on again. But first, you got to clean up the soil,” Ritter said.
News 8’s Jodi Latina asked: “More centered on programs like that as opposed to like an XL Center renovation?”
“I mean, XL Center would come out of a different pot of money. That to me is a regional asset and a regional attraction,” Ritter said.
Community development corporations and not-for-profits that serve one or more of the designated towns can also apply. The money can be used for the following:
- Brownfield clean up
- Affordable housing
- Improvements to water and sewer infrastructure
- Pedestrian safety and traffic calming improvements
- Energy resiliency or clean energy projects
- Land acquisitions and capital projects to construct libraries and senior centers.
The Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) runs the program. The CIF Board and Office of the Governor review applications, then recommend winners.
The State Bond Commission approves projects for grants. Projects that hire locals, leverage outside funds, and use project labor agreements will be given priority.
“It’s a great effort with a lot of horsepower behind it and a really ambitious goal,” said Alexandra Daum, the deputy commissioner of the Department of Economic and Community Development.
Small businesses will also be able to get money for microloans and gap financing. The deadline to apply for the first round of funding is July 25.
Projects will be awarded money in October.