Lighting Project Up in the Air

At the end of March, the town of Ellington submitted an application for a Small Town Economic Assistance Program grant that would provide funds for lighting on the Ellington High School football field and tennis courts.

Those in support of the project received some disappointing news however when the town was awarded a $500,000 STEAP grant for expansion of the town hall instead. The town hall expansion was named as the higher priority for the town. The application for that grant was submitted in February.

However, this doesn’t mean that the lighting proposition is necessarily dead in the water.

First Selectman Maurice Blanchette said it is possible that the town may still receive the grant this year, and if not, it would be put in again next year.

“As far as I’m concerned, there’s still hope,” he said

If the application isn’t approved this year, and is resubmitted next year, Blanchette said it will have to be determined once again where it falls on the priority list.

“We’ll see what the priority is, because we might have some higher priority stuff,” he said. “I don’t know right now. I can’t be sure because from one year to the next, we might come across something that does have a higher priority for us.”

Booster Club President Cyndi Costanzo said that grant or no grant, the group is going to keep working on this issue.

“We believe that not only the lights, but field enhancements, are essential for our town,” she said. “We have a growing population of young families. We don’t have kids who will benefit – our kids are too old. We’re doing this because the town needs to talk about the lack of facilities and the lack of quality facilities when you compare us to every other town we compete against.”

For those on the other side of the issue – who may think the lighting project is just a bonus – Costanzo points out that there are many reasons why this project is important, including keeping the kids in town healthy, fit, and making good decisions.

“There is nothing greater that we can invest in than our children’s health,” she said. “We know kids are less active, diseases are linked to inactivity and obesity. It’s why we’re so passionate about this issue.”

She welcomes anyone who is invested in this issue to join the Ellington United Sports Boosters.

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