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Harbor Dredging Projects Get Support from Sen. Murphy [VIDEO]

The state's junior senator tours Greenwich to see how proposed capital projects need federal money.

 

Connecticut's junior senator returned to Greenwich Wednesday for a fact-finding tour of capitial projects that town officials hope will receive federal support.

The tour—which included stops at the Riverscape Marina on the Cos Cob Harbor, the Hill House congregate housing complex for seniors in Riverside and the Greenwich Adult Day Care center in Cos Cob. But before the tour began, Murphy met with his host with Republican First Selectman Peter Tesei at Town Hall and the pair  popped in on the Board of Estimate and Taxation's Budget Committee hearing.

Budget Committee Chair Joseph Pellegrino said, "If you could bring bags of green stuff with you, that would be great." Murphy replied, "Unfortunately, I don't think I'll have great news on the federal level."

Then it was off for a whirlwind tour of the town that is home to Linda McMahon, the Republican challenger Murphy defeated last November. Tesei, wearing a red Vineyard Vines tie decorated with the Republican elephant logo, drove Murphy and Democratic Selectman Drew Marzullo, Princess Erf, Greenwich's Community Development Block Grant program, and some of Murphy's staff.

Murphy was touring projects where Community Development Block Grants were used in concert with private donations to create private-public partnerships that provide vital services to the town. Tesei said he wanted Murphy to see the impact the block grants have had in town. He also said, "One of the issues we have faced over the last several years is the diminishment of Community Development Block Grant funds that are allocated to municipalities in the state."

At the Riverscape marina on Cos Cob Harbor, Murphy heard the need for funding to dredge the silt-laden river channel that leads into Long Island Sound.  Boaters, a local oysterman and Greenwich Harbor Master Ian MacMillan described how silting conditions in the channel limit access to Long Island Sound. (Please see video.) The channel was last dredged in 1984 and it's estimated it will cost $2 million to deepen the harbor.

The town has applied for federal approvals for the project. Murphy said there is federal money available. The town also has future plans to dredge Greenwich Harbor, which has an estimated project cost of $12 million.

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Then it was on to the Greenwich Adult Day Care on River Road in Cos Cob where he saw dozens of seniors engaged in exercise and memory classes and recreational activities at the center that opened four years ago.

The visit concluded with a tour of Hill House, the senior citizen congregate housing complex on Riverside Avenue in the Riverside neighborhood of town. During a tour, Hill House board Chairman Sam Telerico described efforts to receive state funding to expand the complec from 37 units to 61 one-bedroom apartments for independent seniors.

"This is a model facility for the state, for the taxpayers and elderly people," Telerico said. Murphy asked several questions about the facility including the waiting list to move in.

According to Telerico, there is a waiting list of 345 people who want to move into the complex where three to four residents leave each year. "It's 10-plus years for the waiting list," Telerico said.

After the tour, Murphy said dredging of the Cos Cob and Greenwich harbors is vital to the state's economic development. "When our shoreline is inaccessible, the economic development of Connecticut is diminished. Dredging is an investment. I will bring this project back to Washington and work with Senator (Richard) Blumenthal and Congressman (Jim) Himes," Murphy said. (Both Blumenthal and Himes are Greenwich residents. (Please see second video.)

Flanked by Marzullo and Tesei, he also praised the bipartisan work of local officials. "Local Democrats and Republicans have their differences ... but they get along here. Washington could learn a lesson here," Murphy said.

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