The laboratory will be getting a much-needed upgrade, thanks to a $100,000 Small Town Economic Assistance Program (STEAP) grant.
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy on Thursday, announced that Greenwich and the town of Fairfield each were awarded Small Town Economic Assistance Program (STEAP) grants for capital improvement projects.
“Tough economic times make STEAP grants all the more important because they allow us to improve the overall quality of life, while creating jobs and stimulating the local economy,” said Malloy said in a prepared statement. “Whether it’s the improvement of a public space or renewed investment in a municipal facility, these grants allow towns across our state to move forward with capital projects that will benefit residents, both locally and across the region.”
Greenwich will receive a $100,000 grant to aid in the renovation and expansion of the town’s Department of Health Laboratory. Renovation will allow the facility to meet the growing needs for clinical and environmental testing services. The funding will enable the health lab to increase testing capacity, remove asbestos, increase ventilation for safety and improve customer service. Some of the services done at the facility include blood testing for lead, cholesterol and Lyme disease.
First Selectman Peter Tesei said, "We're certainly very pleased to have received the grant and I want to thank the governor and the state bond commission for approving those funds for use for the health department." He added, "It falls more generally under the category of building construction and maintenance for town hall. It is part of an overall program to bring various areas of the building in compliance with modern standards."
Greenwich Health Director Caroline Baisley did not return a message seeking comment Thursday.
Greenwich's state legislative delegation applauded the grant.
“I strongly applaud the decision to award this funding to the Town of Greenwich for the renovation and expansion of the Department of Health Laboratory,” said Sen. L. Scott Frantz (R-36). “This grant will benefit the health and wellness of our citizens by improving the facility’s environmental and clinical services, including testing for lead, chemicals, rabies and Lyme disease.”
State Rep. Fred Camillo (R-151) said, “Updating the health lab facility will allow medical professionals to better combat the threat and spread of disease. This is especially important since we have learned through testimony in the Environment Committee that the deer population is on the rise and with it, the increased threat deer ticks, which are known carriers of Lyme disease.”
State Rep. Livvy Floren (R-149) added, “We have a very busy professional operation in Greenwich with the heavy incidence of Lyme and West Nile testing. The state recognizes the importance of our work.”
“Through my experiences on the Human Services Committee, I have seen how deadly diseases can impact families and communities,” State Rep. Lile Gibbons (R-150), said in a statement. “It is so important to invest in facilities that study these infections so we can eventually work toward cures and finally prevention. I am so grateful that in these tight economic times, the State of Connecticut chose to support this important cause. I am proud that this life-saving research is happening here in Greenwich.”
Fairfield will receive a $400,000 grant to reconstruct the main Penfield Pavilion parking lot, add and rebuilt approximately 2,100 feet of needed sidewalks along the Penfield side of the road, and add landscaping around the perimeter of the lots to make the area safer for children.
The State Bond Commission, under Malloy’s leadership, allocated $20 million for STEAP grants in September. The awards were granted in part due to project readiness and their impact on overall regional economic development.