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Connecticut lawmakers struggle to find funds for state park repairs

Rocky Neck State Park pavilion
Bjturon
/
Wikimedia Commons
Rocky Neck State Park pavilion

Connecticut has 139 state parks and forests and many are badly in need of repairs and maintenance. Finding the money to complete those projects is a challenge for state officials.

Governor Ned Lamont has pledged $55 million through his annual budget request aimed at some of the park system’s most “basic” needs.

Hearst Connecticut Media reports repairs to the nearly-century-old pavilion at Rocky Neck park could alone cost as much as $30 million.

The governor's request would cover a fraction of the nearly $130 million in necessary maintenance, repairs and other infrastructure projects identified by parks officials in recent years. A surge of visitors during the pandemic has put added strain on the system.

State lawmakers in 2017 added additional fees on motor vehicle registrations, which bring in about $21 million a year to staff state parks and other operational expenses.

The state has not determined which projects would be first in line for funding if Lamont’s budget request is approved.

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